Motorists protesting the recent eye-watering increases in the cost of fuel have brought traffic to a standstill on multiple British motorways, delaying drivers and frustrating local police. With diesel prices hitting £1.99 per litre, are the protests justified? Or, should “go-slow” drivers be prosecuted for causing chaos? Have your say in the comments below.
From around 8am, drivers on the A38, A48, A12, M4, M5, M54, M180, and River Severn Bridge crossings, were frustrated by separate but co-ordinated “go-slows”. Tailbacks from the protest became so long on the M4, that some got out of their vehicles and started playing football, while others were pulled over by police for trying to use the hard shoulder to get past the slow-moving vehicles.
The protesters took to roads across the country, driving in lanes one and two of the motorway at speeds as slow as 11mph, to demand action on the spiking fuel costs that are putting some people out of work. A Welsh welder taking part in the day of action said to WalesOnline : “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.”
Since July 5 2021, the cost at the pumps of petrol and diesel has increased by more than a third – from 133p/l to 191p/l, and 134p/l to 199p/l respectively.
Welsh police managed to stop and detain M4 go-slow protesters by 11am, arresting the drivers of the vehicles responsible for the motorway mayhem. On the scene WalesOnline reporter Conor Gogarty said: “Drivers are being arrested for Section 12 offences after driving at 10mph instead of an agreed higher speed, according to police.”
West Mercia Police officers responding to the Shropshire leg of the protest issued a rebuke to the cost of fuel campaigners, saying: “Unfortunately the tactics used by some protesters today compromised the safety of other road users.
“Officers gathered evidence during the event and we will take action against those who committed road traffic offences.
“The ability to protest is a fundamental part of democracy, however, when protests start to endanger the public and put the safety of others at risk, appropriate and proportionate action will be taken.”