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Fuel Price Protest on M6 - geograph.org.uk - 1009073

Lorries performing a rolling roadblock in a protest on the M6 motorway in 2007. Attribution: Bob Jenkins.

BackgroundEdit

The fuel protests in the United Kingdom were a series of campaigns held because of the cost of rising petrol and diesel fuel prices for road vehicle use, including the first major protest in 2000. It was primarily led by independent truck owner-operator, with a group of South East of England truck owner-operators that formed the protest group called "TransAction" and protested at oil refineries and fuel depots in Essex.

The Conservative Party manipulated the situation in an attempt to undermine the Labour government, which they refused to recognize as the legitimate winner of the 1997 election until early 1999. Some Conservatives (Tories) even tried to ferment a formal uprising and\or national crisis by hijacking the GM food crop protests of 1997-1998, the 2000 fuel protests and the 20 March 2003 – 18 December 2011 western invasion of Iraq.

In 1993 the Conservative government created the 'fuel price escalator'. By 2000, tax accounted for 81.5% of the total cost of unleaded petrol, up from 72.8% in 1993. The escalator had risen from inflation + 3% to inflation + 6%, and VAT had gone up from 15% to 17.5%. The escalator was scrapped in early 2000.

The global crude oil price had increased from $10 to $30 a barrel, so British drivers were now paying an average of 80 pence a litre for unleaded and 80.8p for diesel.

The 1999 London protest rallyEdit

Lorry drivers protested in London against rising fuel prices. They announced their intentions for a nationwide campaign.

2000Edit

Ham Hill Filling Station - geograph.org.uk - 20233

Ham Hill petrol station, which had run out of fuel. Attribution: Hywel Williams.

The Conservative Party organised a day of protest on 29 July and blamed the Labour government for it during thire quasi-political campaigning.

Cause BelliEdit

Motorists being urged not to visit petrol stations on 1 August 2000, with forecourts in the North-West being hit the hardest, some reporting a 50% drop in business. It's support was marginal elsewhere. The event was known as "Dump the Pumps" and "Boycott the Pumps campaign".

The eventEdit

Stanlow Refinery near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire was blockaded by Farmers for Action, led by David Handley on 8 September 2000.

Over the next few days, pickets were reported at Milford Haven oil terminal and Avonmouth oil terminal and several facilities for a limited period in Yorkshire, North West England and the Scottish Borders and demanding that the government reduce fuel taxes.

September 12 saw deliberately slow-moving convoys of lorries caused traffic jams on the M1 and M5 motorways.

Brynle Williams, who was one of the organisers of the protests, called it off on September 16th after a meeting with Eddie Stobart Curriers, Cross Counties Curriers and NHS Trust representatives; after they revealed that ambulances and food delivery firms were running out of fuel in some places.

Both Buncefield Oil Depot and the Port of Immingham/Immingham Dock both were reported to have had some scuffles between pro-government (purportedly Labour sponsored) thugs, staff sympathetic to the protests and some security staff on the last day. No one was seriously hurt and little damage was done.

The Conservatives called for more protests and the slashing of fuel taxes, the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union called for fuel duty cuts and the Liberal Democrats accused the government of initially ignoring the worsening situation.

The government and its technical advisors accused the oil companies of collusion with the protesters and de facto treason against the state.

ReactionEdit

The Conservatives called the slashing of fuel taxes and the Liberal Democrats accused the government of responding to slowly to the protesters demands.

A BBC telephone opinion poll conducted by ICM involving 514 people on public support during 12 September showed 78% support until the possibility of essential services being affected when it fell to only 36%.

A small convoy from North East England to London that ended with a protest in Hyde Park and the closure of the Westway by vehicles deliberately left parked on it on November 8th. An 80 vehicles convoy also went from John O'Groats to Edinburgh November 8th.

ConsequencesEdit

The London Chamber of Commerce reported that it cost businesses £250 million a day and the Institute of Directors estimated the cost to UK businesses at £1 billion.

In his pre-Budget report of 8 November, the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, announced the taxing of foreign lorries using British roads, a cut in duty on ultra-low sulfur petrol, a freeze on fuel duty for other grades of fuel until at least April 2002 (effectively ending the fuel duty escalator) and placing more vehicles into the lower vehicle excise duty (VED) band.

2004Edit

Cause BelliEdit

High UK fuel prices.

The eventEdit

There was a planned protest outside the small Yopack oil refinery in East Anglia on the 1st of May.

ReactionEdit

It was called off.

ConsequencesEdit

Non.

2005Edit

Cause BelliEdit

In August 2005, petrol increased in price to record highs of over 90 pence,[44] with a small number of stations charging over £1 a litre.[45] In September the average price had reached 94.6p a litre,[44] with the rise being partially blamed on decreased world supply after Hurricane Katrina caused damage to some oil facilities in the United States of America.[46]

The eventEdit

The BBC reported on 7 September 2005 that the group responsible for the blockades in September 2000 was threatening to stage protests at oil refineries from 0600 BST on 14 September 2005 unless reductions in fuel duty were made. Newspapers reported that on 10 September 2005, the government had drawn up contingency plans to maintain the supply of fuel, including using 1,000 army drivers to operate tankers, introducing fuel rationing and confiscating the driving licences of those who broke the law. Panic buying was reported on 13 September 2005 as drivers stocked up on fuel with drivers reported to be waiting an hour to fill their vehicles with petrol. At its height, around 3,000 petrol stations were emptied of fuel.

However, on 14 September 2005, only a small number of protesters arrived at the refineries with no intention to start blockading the entrances. The UK Petroleum Industry Association said the day's protest had proved "thankfully amazingly quiet", with the largest event attended by People's Fuel Lobby leader Andrew Spence, attracting just 10 protesters at its peak. At the Stanlow Refinery, which was blockaded in 2000 only two protesters attended the demonstration.[54] Further protests on 16 September 2005 occurred on the M4 motorway where lorries drove as slow as 15 miles per hour (24 km/h).

ReactionEdit

In responding to the protests, the government argued that lower than needed supplies by OPEC and the Katrina hurricane had a more significant impact on the price of fuel than the level of duty.

ConsequencesEdit

2007Edit

Cause BelliEdit

UK fuel prices exceeded £1 per litre in mid 2007 with a 2 pence rise in fuel tax in October, resulting in the highest diesel prices and the fourth highest for petrol in Europe. The RHA wanted fuel price regulator who would control road fuel duty.

The eventEdit

Transaction 2007 called for a oil refinery blockade (a block of trucks driving at around 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), blocking al 3 motorway lanes) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) rolling roadblocks by around 30 vehicles.

The Scottish branch of the RHA proposed a rolling roadblock by around 30 vehicles, whereas Transaction 2007 intended to protest outside oil refineries.

ReactionEdit

The blockade was a failure and the number of rolling roadblock had 45 vehicles and hit several motorways. Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland supported the RHA of Scotland.

ConsequencesEdit

The government took no long term action.

2010Edit

Cause BelliEdit

High UK fuel prices.

The eventEdit

There a planned fuel tanker strike on Saturday 1st May, designed to impact the proposed UK general election on May 6th.

ReactionEdit

It was called off.

ConsequencesEdit

Non.

2010Edit

Cause BelliEdit

10 year anniversary of the 2000 strike.

The eventEdit

There was a small planned protest outside Stanlow Oil Refinery on the 10 year anniversary of the 29 July 2000 strike.

ReactionEdit

It was called off.

ConsequencesEdit

Non.

2011Edit

Cause BelliEdit

11 year anniversary of the 2000 strike.

The eventEdit

There was a small planned protest outside Stanlow Oil Refinery on the 11 year anniversary of the 29 July 2000 strike.

ReactionEdit

It was called off.

ConsequencesEdit

Non.

Modern fuel taxEdit

The UK had Europe's highest or second highest rates in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Fuel tax was frozen at 59% in 2011 and did not go up with inflation that year. It went up by 3p in the £ during 2014 to 61%, but this was later reversed due to public pressure.

The government then agreed to increase fuel duty by RPI plus 1 penny per litre as of 2012.

The fuel price was 66.2% tax (20% VAT and 40.1% fuel duty) in mid 2017.

Also seeEdit

SourcesEdit

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