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Fuel price protests set to worsen M4 traffic on ‘busiest’ weekend for holiday getaways

22 Jul 2022 3 minute read
Police officers stop a convoy of vehicles driving slowly on the M4 in Wales in protest over fuel prices on 4 July. Picture by Bronwen Weatherby / PA Wire

Fuel price protests are due to worsen the traffic on the M4 on what was already predicted to be one of the year’s busiest days on the motorway due to holiday getaways.

The RAC had already warned that the stretch of motorway between Cardiff and Newport was likely to see traffic jams, but this could now be exacerbated by planned fuel protests across the Second Severn Crossing in England.

Fuel protest drivers plan a slow convoy east along the M4 between junction 20 and 19, which could delay traffic over the bridge and into Wales.

An image posted on Facebook group Fuel Price Stand Against Tax also suggests demonstrations will be held “nationwide”, including in Cardiff.

Fuel price protests crossing from Wales to England led to 12 people being arrested on the M4 on July 4.

With most schools in England joining many in Wales in breaking up for summer this week, the RAC said an estimated 18.8 million leisure trips are planned between Friday and Monday.

Superintendent Tony Blatchford of Avon and Somerset Police urged drivers to consider “alternative travel plans” due to the pump price protests.

He said: “Our protest liaison team has been engaging with the organiser so we can inform the public of the likely disruption and help to minimise it.

“Nevertheless, drivers can expect journey times will likely be longer than normal, especially on motorways, which often tend to be at their busiest at this time of year.

“We advise motorists to consider any alternative travel plans available and ensure they are suitably prepared in case they are delayed.”

‘High demand’

The first stage of Friday’s action in the South West will see vehicles travel north on the M5 between Bridgwater and the Almondsbury Interchange from about 8.45am, then east along the M4 and to Junction 1 of the M32.

The convoy is expected to leave the motorway and stop “for a period of time” before completing the same route in reverse, arriving back in Bridgwater “in the early afternoon”, police said.

A second group of protesters is planning to drive slowly to the Shell petrol station in Bristol Road, Bridgwater.

“They are expected to block the forecourt during the morning,” according to police.

Figures from data company Experian show the average price of a litre of petrol on Wednesday was 187.5p, while diesel was 196.1p.

Climate protesters caused major disruption on Wednesday by climbing onto signs above the M25.

There are also likely to be long queues at the Port of Dover again on Friday.

Travellers were forced to queue for up to three hours on Thursday to complete border control and check-in.

On Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for the port said: “As a result of high demand and earlier capacity issues at the border, the port system is working hard to catch up and to get everyone through as quickly as possible.

“Passengers will be placed on the first available sailing and will be away on their holidays shortly.”


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Jack
Jack
21 days ago

I hope the police do their job and arrest them for obstructing the highway.

Marc Davies
Marc Davies
21 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Don’t be silly Jack, they’ll be let off with a ‘naughty boys’ finger wag.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
21 days ago
Reply to  Jack

But don’t you think they have a pont? What else can people do? The UK government is too busy with its little power struggle to do anything and even if there was a fully functioning government the Tories would do absolutely nothing. These protests and for that matter strikes are only going to get worse as people become more and more pissed off.

Jack
Jack
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

You could make exactly the same argument about Just Stop Oil protestors gluing themselves to busy roads and obstructing the highways. Do you agree with that, too?

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
21 days ago
Reply to  Jack

We stifle the right to protest at our peril. First it’s Extinction Rebellion, then it’s Insulate Britain, then it’s these folks, then it’s train workers, paramedics, the NHS etc etc etc all being painted as reactionary trouble makers by Priti Patel… …THEN it’s Welsh Independence marchers and I presume you would be opposed to those getting arrested? This is how the government cows the people. One group at a time. We are all, whether we know it or not, in hundreds of different groups and groupings. We would hate others to be harsh about us based on those groupings, or… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by One of the two witnesses
Jack
Jack
21 days ago

I actually think that protests that cause disruption are good. I think it’s good when Insulate Britain or XT or Just Stop Oil do it. Even though I disagree with fuel protestors, I think it’s an acceptable form of protest for them, too.

My point, really, was that the usual suspects who whinge about XR/Insulate Britain causing disruption will likely be supportive of fuel protestors causing disruption.

I think the right to protest is for everyone.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
20 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Ah right. Thanks for the explanation Jack. I see your point now. I agree with you

Ceramike
Ceramike
21 days ago

Yesterday I passed a number of petrol stations and the the cost per litre varied by an incredible 50 pence per litre the lowest being 169.7 whilst the highest was 220.9 . It’s undeniable that profiteering is taking place on a massive scale by both Government and suppliers.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
21 days ago

When a government doesn’t listen to the people, and carries on regardless, there is only one course of action left to the people, and that’s Protest.

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