Fuel protesters could bring UK to standstill

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

TWO Flintshire businessmen are spearheading a mass protest that will bring the UK to a halt.

Fuel protesters Ian Charlesworth, from Hawarden, and Kevin Bowker, from Saltney, have organised a mass go-slow in North Wales that will culminate in a blockade of the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Ellesmere Port on Sunday, May 8.

Simultaneous protests and blockades are expected to be carried out at the same time across Britain as thousands of angry motorists make a stand against the crippling price of fuel.

The protesters are calling for the Government to slash fuel prices by about 24p to bring them in line with European prices

Mr Charlesworth, spokesman for the Stanlow Fuel Protest and Direct Action Group, says they will blockade the oil refinery for “as long as it takes”.

He said: “We have had enough of the Government and the way we are being treated – they are not listening to us.

“We are not going to be ignored any longer, we are prepared to disrupt the fuel supply to this country if needed.

“We will not move from Stanlow until this situation is resolved. The Government is going to have a major headache and this will lead to a fuel crisis in Britain.”

More than 1,000 protesters are expected to meet at Stanlow and the protesters are now calling for the public’s support.

Mr Charlesworth added: “I know for a fact that the general public is sick and tired of the situation, when every day another penny goes on the price of fuel.

“This is your one chance to get out there and make your voices heard. We need people out there with us, even if it’s just blockading the end of your road.”

The North Wales go-slow starts in Llandudno and will join the A55 towards Deeside, head around Chester and then onto the M56 towards Stanlow.

Another convoy will leave Shrewsbury and head along the A5 through Oswestry, Chirk and Wrexham before meeting the other convoy in Chester and heading towards Stanlow.

The protesters, travelling at an average speed of 20mph, will meet other demonstrators from Liverpool, Manchester, Stoke and Birmingham at the oil refinery.

Hauliers, farmers, motorcyclists and taxi firms from across Flintshire, Wrexham and Chester have already pledged their support.

The demonstrators promise the blockade will be bigger than the fuel protests in 2000, which started at Stanlow and spread throughout Britain leading to shortages which lasted for days.

During a visit to Airbus in Broughton yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne blamed the rising oil prices for the cost of fuel.

He said: “We completely understand the price of petrol is a real burden on families and businesses. Everyone can see that the oil price around the world has gone up and that is what has caused it.

“The question is what has the Government done to help in that situation. In my most recent budget a few weeks ago I cut fuel duty. That is our effort to help people and shield them from some of the effects of rising oil prices.”

Mr Charlesworth, who owns a construction company in Deeside, has had to lay off four members of staff and take two vehicles off the road due to the rocketing fuel prices.

He said: “We have agreed it will be a peaceful protest, but we will be there until we get a conclusion.”

The group has been in talks with North Wales and Cheshire Police and have confirmed that the emergency services will be permitted to obtain fuel.

For further details visit the group’s Facebook page or email maverickrochdale@gmail.com.

See full story in the Leader

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