Fuel price protest latest: 12 arrests on M4 after roads targeted in fuel duty action

·9-min read
Fuel price protest latest: 12 arrests on M4 after roads targeted in fuel duty action

Motorists have experienced serious disruption across the country as protesters target motorways in a demonstration over high fuel prices.

Gwent Police chief superintendent Tom Harding has confirmed a total of 12 people were arrested during the fuel price protest on the M4.

All were arrested for breaching the legal notice issued by the police prior to the protest by driving at under 30 mph for “a prolonged amount of time”.

Roads in various parts of the country were subject to traffic jams on Monday morning as protesters take action and call for a cut in fuel duty.

Protests will target mainly three-lane motorways and see slow-downs on two lanes, leaving the fast lane free, according to FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox.

As of Monday morning, demonstrations were ongoing at a Tesco petrol station in Shepton Mallet, on the M54 in Shropshire and on the westbound carriageway of the M4 near to the Prince of Wales crossing.

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16:36 , Lily Waddell

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Watch: Fuel price campaigners take to roads with rolling blockades across the UK

15:06 , Daniel Keane

Twelve arrested during M4 fuel protest

14:04 , Daniel Keane

Gwent Police chief superintendent Tom Harding has confirmed a total of 12 people were arrested during the fuel price protest on the M4.

All were arrested for breaching the legal notice issued by the police prior to the protest by driving at under 30 mph for “a prolonged amount of time”.

“Over the last two weeks, we have been working jointly with a number of partners to ensure that emergency and critical services could continue and to prevent serious disruption to both road users and local communities,” Chief Supt Harding said.

“The right to protest under UK law must be balanced with the rights of the wider community who may be affected. By implementing restrictions on the moving protest, we aimed to protect the public and local communities.

“Along with partners, we identified that failing to comply with the legal notice requirements would lead to emergency and critical services being restricted therefore posing a risk to local communities, action was taken when I deemed these risks existed.

“We are aware of other driving offences, not connected to the protest, such as the use of a mobile phone whilst driving. These offences will be dealt with appropriately.”

Pictured: Protesters are held back by police as they close the edit junction to Ferrybridge service station

13:46 , Daniel Keane

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Shepton Mallet protest ends

13:14 , Miriam Burrell

The protest at Tesco petrol station in Shepton Mallet has ended, Avon and Somerset Police said.

Meanwhile, both east and westbound lanes of the Prince of Wales bridge between England and Wales have re-opened.

It partially closed on Monday morning while protesters crossed in a ‘go-slow’ demonstration.

The bridge was captured near-empty from a vehicle taking part.

 (PA)
(PA)

Arrest after ‘unsafe driving’ on A38

12:55 , Miriam Burrell

Devon and Cornwall Police said “excessive slow speeds” were recorded on the A38, leading to cars braking suddenly and “potentially causing a serious issue on our roads”.

Three vehicles were escorted off the road near Buckfastleigh and the drivers given formal warnings. Later that morning police received further reports of unsafe driving on the A38 near Ivybridge.

“One road user, a man in his 50s, ignored the previous warning given to him and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of breach of the Public Order Act and taken into police custody,” Superintendent Adrian Leisk said.

M4 arrests ‘unfair’, protesters say

12:46 , Miriam Burrell

A number of the M4 protesters have said they believe those who were arrested have been “unfairly” targeted by Gwent Police and Avon and Somerset Police.

Drivers of the vehicles conducting a rolling roadblock on the motorway from Magor Services, South Wales, were arrested for a public order offence, breaching the rules requiring them to drive at a speed of 30mph or more.

Passengers of some of the vehicles said motorists were unable to drive any faster due to the demonstrators leading the convoy driving at about 10-15mph.

Officers ‘took action' at Ferrybridge services, Yorkshire

12:32 , Miriam Burrell

West Yorkshire Police said officers “took action” to avoid disruption as a small group of protesters gathered at Ferrybridge services, near Leeds.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “Police engaged with the small number of protestors who attended at Ferrybridge services on Monday morning to explore possible ways in which they could peacefully demonstrate without negatively affecting the wider public.

“Officers took action to avoid the disruption and ensure the wider safety of protestors and road users.”

The protest has cleared.

Pictured: Protesters in Yorkshire

12:24 , Miriam Burrell

Protesters block the exit of Ferrybridge service station in Leeds (Getty Images)
Protesters block the exit of Ferrybridge service station in Leeds (Getty Images)
Protester holds a sign on the roundabout at Ferrybridge (Getty Images)
Protester holds a sign on the roundabout at Ferrybridge (Getty Images)
Protesters slow traffic on the A64 in York (Getty Images)
Protesters slow traffic on the A64 in York (Getty Images)

Protest near Ferrybridge cleared, police confirm

11:57 , Daniel Keane

Police said the protest near Ferrybridge services in Yorkshire has cleared but there was a go-slow by campaigners on the A64 in the York area.

"We're working closely with local and regional partner agencies to minimise disruption," North Yorkshire Police said.

"We have additional officers and support in place to ensure protest activity is lawful and disruption is kept to a minimum."

M5 protest ends

11:28 , Daniel Keane

Devon and Cornwall Police said a protest on the M5 had ended but there had been other incidents on the A38.

"Unfortunately we have had unsafe driving on the A38 including vehicles travelling at a dangerously low speed," a force spokesman said.

"One driver ignored a previous warning and has now been arrested.

"Officers remain on our roads monitoring these protests."

Eight fuel protesters arrested near Prince of Wales crossing

11:17 , Daniel Keane

On the westbound carriageway of the M4 near to the Prince of Wales crossing uniformed police officers were arresting eight fuel price protesters who had been driving vehicles.

A PA reporter at the scene said they were being arrested for driving slower than the agreed 30mph speed limit.

It is understood that protesters who had blocked the eastbound carriageway of the Severn crossing were also being arrested.

Protest begins at Tesco petrol station in Shepton Mallet

10:59 , Daniel Keane

A protest is also taking place at a Tesco petrol station in Shepton Mallet, Avon and Somerset Police said.

"We do not believe any other petrol stations are affected at this time," a force spokesman said.

Police aware of ‘driving offences’ committed during fuel protest

10:30 , Daniel Keane

Gwent Police warned protesters that it was aware of "driving offences" being committed during the fuel protest.

"We are aware of driving offences being committed during the planned protest on the M4," a spokesman said.

"We are committed to increasing the safety of all road users in Gwent and beyond.

"We urge all motorists to drive carefully, responsibly and within the limits of the law."

Average price of petrol hits new record

10:17 , Daniel Keane

The average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.5p on Sunday, according to data firm Experian.

The average price of diesel was 199.0p per litre.

Airport advises travellers to allow extra time for journeys

10:01 , Daniel Keane

Bristol Airport advised travellers to allow extra time for their journeys.

They tweeted: “Please note that there is a planned fuel protest to block the River Severn Bridge crossings this Mon 4th July from 8:30am. The protest will likely affect the M5, M4 and the two crossings to Wales

“Please allow extra time if travelling to or from the airport.”

Average price of petrol reached 191.4p on Thursday

09:16 , Daniel Keane

Figures from data firm Experian show the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p.

The Government said that while it understands people are struggling with rising prices and have a right to protest, "people's day-to-day lives should not be disrupted" and warned that traffic delays "will only add to fuel use".

Pictured: Police escort vehicles along the M4 motorway during rush hour

09:00 , Daniel Keane

Police escort vehicles along the M4 motorway during the morning rush hour (PA)
Police escort vehicles along the M4 motorway during the morning rush hour (PA)

Fuel prices ‘damaging my livelihood’, says protester

08:17 , Daniel Keane

Martin Crowley, 48, from Cardiff said he is a self-employed exotic animal courier and said fuel prices are damaging his livelihood.

"Fuel cost me £280 over two days last week. It's unbelievable.

"You can hardly make a living any more," Mr Crowley said.

Protesters say fuel prices mean their earning potential severely impacted

08:11 , Sarah Harvey

Mobile welder Richard Dite, 44, from Maesteg, South Wales said it is costing him over £300 in fuel to get to work every week due to price hikes.

"It's costing me £300 a week before I even get to work and earn anything," Mr Dite told PA news agency.

"My only option soon will be to put the welding gear in the shed and call it a day, maybe go on the dole.

"Face it at this rate I'll be on more that way."

He was joined at Magor Service Station with around a dozen or more other people who have driven this morning across the Prince of Wales Bridge in protest of fuel tax.

Protest at Prince of Wales bridge

08:09 , Sarah Harvey

Avon and Somerset police tweeted: "A slow-moving rolling roadblock is under way on the M4.

"A number of vehicles will head east over the Prince of Wales Bridge and expected to exit the M4 at J22 (Pilning).

"There they plan to re-join westbound towards Wales.

"A similar protest from the England side is also expected."

‘Go-slow protest’ in Exeter

08:09 , Sarah Harvey

Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: "We are aware of a go-slow protest having commenced at 7:10am from Exeter Services heading northbound.

"This is currently around a dozen vehicles in size and is being accompanied by police vehicles to ensure the safety of all road users."

Protests underway

08:06 , Sarah Harvey

Protesters have left the M4 Magor services, near Caldicot, South Wales heading across the Prince of Wales bridge crossing the River Severn into England.

A convoy of around 20 vehicles has left the services.

Before departing they were told by police they cannot stop and must drive no slower than 30mph.

Police officers plan on directing protesters off the motorway either side of the bridge.

Some protesters have said they intend to meet in the middle and block the motorway.

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