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The BBC's Wyre Davies
"It's a situation that isn't improving"
 real 56k

First Minister Rhodri Morgan
"The health service is now in a serious position"
 real 28k

BBC Wales' Penny Roberts
"The panic-buying at the pumps has now spread to the shops"
 real 56k

BBC Wales' Susie Phillips
"There's concern that carers won't be able to get to their patients"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Fuel crisis in Wales deepens
Motorists queuing for fuel
Most of Wales has run dry
The fuel blockade protest against high prices has continued into a fifth day, threatening to close schools and leaving hospitals and emergency services struggling to cope.

As fuel supplies across Wales run dry, National Assembly First Secretary Rhodri Morgan has called for an immediate end to the blockade by hauliers and farmers.

But the shortage has already hit jobs with the Caerphilly-based Peter's Food Service Group - which employs 1,100 people in Wales - announcing plans to lay off 350 workers temporarily from Wednesday.

Police forces are monitoring the blockades at depots in Pembrokeshire and Cardiff, but say the demonstrators are not breaking the law.

fuel tax message
Plain message: A slogan on a farmer's horse box

Supermarkets across Wales have reported panic-buying of foods.

Safeway's communications director Kevin Hawkings predicted that - unless there was a change - the whole food industry will come to a halt within two or three days.

However, Tesco and Sainsbury say food supplies to stores in Wales will be maintained at normal levels.

But Spar stores in south Wales have seen a 300% increase in the buying of bread, milk and canned goods.

Many councils and emergency services have begun conserving fuel supplies for essential services only.

Protest at the main entrance of Texaco's Pembrokeshire refinery
Truckers block Texaco's Pembrokeshire refinery
The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has introduced a major incident contigency plan across Wales to deal with the situation and have cancelled all non-emergency services.

Many hospitals, including Wales' largest - the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff - have already been forced to cancel some routine surgery as beds remain blocked by patients needing ambulance transport home.

Councils in the worst-hit parts of Wales have expressed fears that schools may be closed as school buses run out of fuel.

Rhondda Cynon Taff said it is likely to close all 19 secondary schools in its area from Thursday.

Some schools in Powys in mid Wales may have to close as education chiefs consider implementing winter crisis measures to send teachers to the school nearest their homes.

Services cut

Most local authorities have suspended all non-essential services in order to maintain key provision for as long as possible.

Anglesey Council has already cancelled refuse collections because of the fuel shortage.

Tankers have been unable to leave the Texaco depot in Cardiff and protests at plants have continued at Milford Haven and Pembroke in west Wales.

The Stagecoach bus company has had to cut half its services in south Wales and has warned that if the shortage continues for another six days all services will have to stop.

Farmers not involved with the protests said they are increasingly concerned about the collection of harvests, deliveries of fuel supplies for livestock and fuel needed for machinery to plant next season's crops.

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07 Sep 00 | Business
Oil price eases back
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