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The Guardian (UK): Hauliers plan fuel protest over tax: “Mr Williams led the blockade of the Shell oil refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in September 2000…” ( 23 April 05


Gerard Seenan

Saturday April 23, 2005


Fuel protesters yesterday threatened a series of demonstrations aimed at highlighting the rising cost of fuel.

Road hauliers met in Stirling last night to finalise details of a campaign they hope will force the government to reduce tax on fuel. One of the organisers, who asked not to be named, said most hauliers favoured taking their trucks off the road for a week or two to bring chaos to the country.


"We won't be doing anything illegal and the days of blockades and go-slows are gone," said the organiser. "But we have to do something and most people want to take the trucks off the road, that way people will see what happens if this government succeeds in destroying the road haulage industry."

The organiser said the plan finalised at the meeting would be taken to the Road Haulage Association (RHA) next week. The campaign was expected to start shortly after.


He said hauliers met last night to form a committee to coordinate protests. He said although hauliers would not be taking part in blockades or go-slows, a spokesman for the Fuel Lobby refused to rule it out.


Andrew Spence, a haulier and spokesman for the group, said it was planning to take direct action on May 3, two days before the general election. Mr Spence said his group was pre pared to recreate the protests of 2000, when huge queues formed at petrol stations.


Mr Spence, from Consett, County Durham, said: "Don't rule anything out. The election would be stopped if we had our way. Tony Blair will not be able to have enough fuel in his car to get to the polling station."


The RHA's chief executive, Roger King, said attitudes were becoming "increasingly militant". He said: "We recognise that the price of oil is a world problem. But the fact remains that we are paying the highest levels of fuel duty in the world."


Brynle Williams, one of the original fuel protesters, said he believed more direct action would take place before the general election.


Mr Williams led the blockade of the Shell oil refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in September 2000, but is now a Conservative member in the Welsh Assembly. He said he would not be taking part in more protests, but added: "These guys are lobbying me every day and they are hotter than a bee's nest. I believe direct action is imminent, and it could well take place before the general election."


More than 300 people attended a fuel protest meeting in Ruthin, north Wales, on Wednesday night. Mr Williams did not attend the meeting but said there was a unanimous vote for direct action.,,1468356,00.html


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