UK motorways brought to standstill as angry drivers protest against rocketing fuel prices
UK motorways have been brought to a standstill after dozens of angry drivers took to the streets and protested against rocketing petrol and diesel prices.
Campaigners today targeted major arteries such as the M4 in South Wales and Somerset, as well as the M5 from Devon to Bristol and the A38.
Demonstrations, in the shape of 30mph “go-slows” also affected the M54 in Shropshire, the A12 in Essex and the A64 near York, especially during today’s morning rush hour.
Protests on the M4 ended up with 12 arrests for dangerously low speed driving, while for more than an hour drivers were not able to cross the Prince of Wales Bridge – which connects England to Wales – in either direction due to the demonstration.
The protests come as petrol reached a new record high of 191.5p per litre on Sunday, while diesel went down by 0.1p to 199p, figures revealed.
According to home delivery firm ParcelHero, the go-slow demonstrations could have an impact on the transport of goods, especially in Wales and south-west England.
“ParcelHero has argued for some time that the UK’s high fuel duties should be reduced while we face the ‘perfect storm’ of Covid recovery, the impact of Putin’s war in the Ukraine and Brexit,” ParcelHero’s head of consumer research David Jinks said.
“However, blocking vital roads only adds further problems for hauliers and delivery networks.”
Jinks’s words were echoed by the government, who called for “people’s day-to-day lives” not to be disrupted.
Motoring groups such as the RAC and the AA called on the government to provide more support for drivers.
“It’s time to take action and announce a further cut to duty or to VAT to help hard-pressed drivers and businesses,” said RAC’s fuel spokesperson Simon Williams while the AA’s Luke Bosdet called the current situation “an outrage.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who in March passed a 5p fuel duty cut, said last week he would consider an additional cut following mounting pressures.
The 5p cut has been at the centre of an enquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The competition regulator launched the investigation in early June at the request of business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, after forecourt prices continued to increase despite a slump in wholesale costs.
The CMA is focusing on whether the 5p fuel duty cut announced in March by the Chancellor was not being passed on to consumers.
The investigation’s results are set to be published on Thursday.