Fuel protests lead to queues at some petrol pumps

Drivers have faced long queues at petrol stations as protests have led to fuel shortages. Demonstrators have disrupted fuel deliveries at sites across the Midlands, Hertfordshire, Essex, Warwickshire and other locations.

On Sunday Just Stop Oil activities dug an underground tunnel to block fuel tankers at the BP Kingsbury Terminal near Tamworth in Warwickshire. Meanwhile activities also locked themselves in at the Buncefield and Grays terminals.

One in three petrol stations in parts of the UK are closed, according to The Sun, after protesters interfered with deliveries of fuel. Campaign group Fair Fuel UK says 1,200 pumps south of the Midlands have run dry, tweeting: “We are getting credible intelligence that 1 in 3 garages have run dry of petrol and/or diesel particularly in the south, because of the ‘stop oil’ amoebas.”

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Hard-working people across our country are seeing their lives brought to a standstill by selfish, fanatical and frankly dangerous so-called activists.”

Protesters from the campaign group Just Stop Oil have been blocking oil distribution sites since the start of the month – with blockades across roads and a series of tunnels being dug. They have also been chaining themselves to oil pipelines.

As well as protests taking place across the Midlands and the south, the Sun says most petrol stations in Cambridgeshire were either empty or very busy on Sunday. There have been a reported 800 arrests since the protests began.

Police at a Just Stop Oil protest at the ESSO Birmingham Fuel Terminal earlier this month

It comes after more than 20 protesters arrived at Exolum Storage in Grays, Essex on Sunday morning. Assistant Chief Constable Glen Pavelin said: “We cannot stand by while criminal acts are being committed, and lives are being put at risk, in the name of protest.

“We are not anti-protest. Our job is to preserve life and catch criminals, and that’s what we’re going to do. Today’s protest is exceptionally dangerous due to where the protesters have located themselves within the site.

“Our officers have been diligent in ensuring that all protesters know the risks involved, and we’ve been working hard to minimize the dangers this morning. Put simply: we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

The force has said that policing protests in Thurrock had cost Essex Police “in excess of £1 million”. Warwickshire Police said that a further 29 arrests were made this weekend in connection with ongoing protests at Kingsbury Oil Terminal.

Those in custody have been arrested for offenses including criminal damage, conspiracy to cause criminal damage and conspiracy to commit public nuisance in what Assistant Chief Constable Ben Smith described as “another busy weekend” for the force. This takes the total number of arrests to 180 since the protests began on April 1.

Mr Smith, who said there would be a heightened police presence at the site over the coming days, added: “This weekend’s protest activity has been contained to the Piccadilly Way area and has caused little disruption to the wider community, or to the operations of the oil terminal.

“While we will always recognize and respect the public’s right to peaceful protest, we will take action against anyone who breaks the law or causes significant impact on the local community.” He thanked the public for their ongoing patience and said the force is working to minimize disruption to the local community and the road networks.

Speaking today at the Tamworth demonstration, Rev. Tim Hughes, 71, a retired priest from Swindon, said: “I’m here because our government is useless, they make a lot of noise but they are doing nothing.

“As a priest I have a duty of care for people, and also for creation. “What I’m doing here, with everyone in this caravan, is what our government should be doing – that is trying to protect our families and our loved ones from the appalling future that stands before us. I hope we can continue what we’re doing and stop the flow of oil, if the government won’t.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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