Demonstrations calling for fuel duty cut are underway
Petrol prices: Average cost of filling family car set to exceed £100
Convoys have set off along the M4 and M5 this morning, according to police.
Forces have warned drivers could face “serious disruption” throughout Monday as the protests – which are calling for a fuel duty cut – cause blockages on roads.
There were already delays on M4 Prince of Wales Bridge crossing between England and Wales by around 8am.
Devon and Cornwall Police said a “go-slow” protest kicked off just after 7am and its convoy was driving along the M5.
Protesters are believed to be targeting mainly three-lane motorways and aiming to slow down two lanes, while leaving the fast one free.
Drivers have been warned to reconsider their journeys and remain at home if possible as major roads in various parts of the country face disruption.
The protests are understood to be organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax.
M4 ‘brought to standstill’
For a few minutes both carriageways of the M4 approaching the M4 Prince of Wales Severn Bridge crossing were brought to a standstill by go-slow protests travelling east and west.
Two police motorcyclists rode in front of four vehicles travelling at around 30mph from the Bristol area towards South Wales.
There was a marked police patrol car behind the protestors, followed by dozens of queuing motorists.
A larger convoy of protestors drove over the Severn crossing heading into England from Wales with a large backlog of traffic following behind.
Protest also underway in Wales
Protesters have left the M4 Magor services near Caldicot in South Wales.
Police have told the convoy of around 20 vehicles they cannot stop and must drive no slower than 30mph.
They are due to head across the Prince of Wales bridge crossing the River Severn into England.
Some protesters have said they intend to meet in the middle and block the motorway.
‘It was costing us nearly £400 a month just to get to work,’ former HGV driver says
A former HGV driver due to take part in today’s protest has spoken to Good Morning Britain.
“We both had to leave work in Bristol because we just simply couldn’t afford to do it anymore,” Vicky Stamper said.
“It was costing us nearly £400 a month just to get to work.”
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Protests now underway
It looks like protests are now underway.
Avon and Somerset Police says it is dealing with a “slow-moving rolling roadblock” on the M4:
Devon and Cornwall Police has also provided updates on the movements of protesters:
Welsh roads normal so far
Traffic Wales has just said there have been no issues along its network so far this morning.
The Prince of Wales bridge crossing between England and Wales is expected to be hit by protests today:
UK fuel prices touched record high last week
The protests scheduled to begin this morning were organised on social media as a result of the outrage sparked by record fuel prices last week.
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.
Fuel prices have risen sharply because the price for crude oil, used to make petrol and diesel, has gone up.
‘People’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted,’ says government
Reacting to the protests, a government spokesperson said: “While we respect the right to protest, people’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted, especially on busy motorways where lives are put at risk and resulting traffic delays will only add to fuel use.
“The new Public Order Bill will make it a criminal offence to glue yourself to a dangerous motorway, which sees police spending hours trying to safely remove people.”
Organisers to block the Prince of Wales Bridge and other major highways
Gwent Police says protests are expected to take place on the major road networks between 7am and 7pm on Monday.
They said organisers had indicated an intention to block the Prince of Wales Bridge, with the protest starting on the M4 at Magor services, junction 23A eastbound, and junction 20 of the M4 westbound.
Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said he would encourage drivers to reconsider their journey, consider working from home and avoid the area where possible.
Bristol Airport advised travellers to allow extra time for their journeys.
“The protest will likely affect the M5, M4 and the two crossings to Wales. Please allow extra time if travelling to or from the airport.”
Demonstrators ‘have reached the end of their tethers’, says FairFuel founder
FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox says his organisation is not involved in the action, but he is “fully supportive” of the demonstrations so long as they are conducted legally.
Mr Cox told the PA news agency: “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 and 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.
He said: “There is an appetite (for such protest). If the Government don’t actually deliver on this, I think there’s going to be some serious escalation of protests.”
Police urge drivers to stay at home ahead of the protests
Drivers are advised to reconsider their journeys and remain at home if possible as major roads in various parts of the country face traffic jams on Monday amid demonstrations calling for a cut in fuel duty.
Protests will target mainly three-lane motorways and see slow-downs on two lanes, leaving the fast lane free, according to FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox.
Demonstrators ‘have reached the end of their tethers’ as prices at pump hit record new highs