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