POLICE have warned of “serious disruption” as protesters target motorways in a demonstration over petrol cost today.
Brits have been urged to stay at home as roads across the country are subject to 12 hours of traffic jams while activists call for a cut in fuel duty.
Groups hit parts of the M4 this morning, with a convoy of around 20 vehicles seen at the Magor services near Caldicot, South Wales, as well as the Exeter Services on the M5 and the A38 in Devon.
Organisers also blocked the Prince of Wales Bridge crossing between England and Wales, while disruption grew on the A12 in Essex, the A48 in Gloucestershire, the M62 in West Yorkshire, in Stoke-on-Trent on the A50, and the M6 and M54 in the Midlands.
Protests will clog mainly three-lane motorways and see slow-downs on two lanes, leaving the fast lane free, according to FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox.
While he said his organisation is not involved in the action, he is “fully supportive” of the demonstrations so long as they are conducted legally.
The protests are understood to be organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he will carefully consider calls for a “more substantial” petrol cost duty cut after the 5p per litre reduction implemented in March failed to halt price rises.
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.
Mobile welder Richard Dite said it is costing him over £300 in fuel to get to work every week due to the hikes.
The 44-year-old, from Maesteg, said: “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.”
Former HGV driver Vicky Stamper, 41, from Cwmbran, said she and her partner Darren had to leave jobs in Bristol because they could not afford the fuel any longer.
Ms Stamper said: “It was costing us £380 a week just to get to and from work.”
And Martin Crowley, a self-employed exotic animal courier, said soaring fuel prices are damaging his livelihood.
“Fuel cost me £280 over two days last week. It’s unbelievable,” the 48-year-old, from Cardiff, said.
“You can hardly make a living any more.”
The Government said while it understands people are struggling with rising prices and have a right to protest, “day-to-day lives should not be disrupted” and traffic delays “will only add to fuel use”.
But Mr Cox said: “I totally support their protest because people have reached the end of their tethers at the moment.”
He said other countries had cut fuel duty by more than the UK so asked: “Why the hell are we not doing it here?”
Mr Cox called for a cut of at least 20p, and warned that protests will continue if not.
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