Shropshire Star

Go-slow fuel price protest causes tailbacks on M54

A Shropshire fuel protest which took place on the M54 on Monday morning 'achieved it's aim,' the man who organised it has said.

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The protest caused long tailbacks

Andy Carloman, who runs Telford based Total Property Care, organised a convoy under the national banner Stand up to Fuel Prices UK Wide which travelled slowly from Shifnal Services to junction 1 of the M54 and then back, taking around 90 minutes.

The protest was one of many go-slow protests around the country on a planned day of action, with another one in the Midlands being held on the M6 Junction Three for Coventry and Nuneaton.They also included the M5 in Gloucestershire, the M180 and M18 in Lincolnshire, the M25 around London and the A12 in Essex. On the M4, rolling roadblocks brought parts of the motorway to a standstill with convoys travelling towards the Prince of Wales Bridge, which crosses the River Severn between England and Wales, from both directions.

Although the Telford based protest wasn't as well supported as Mr Carloman had hoped, he said the message had been delivered,

The protest passes junction 3 of the M54, with a police escort back towards Telford

He said: "This part of a nationwide protest and if we can make a stand across the country so much the better because it is a national problem, particularly for small businesses like myself and for self employed drivers, the like of which were on the protest this morning.

"The price of oil has come down but this is not being passed onto the motorist at the pumps and a lot of people are struggling, not just businesses but private motorists who are seeing an increase in the cost of their daily commute.

"I think we achieved our aim today and got the message out there - we could have done with a few more joining us but at least by doing something about it it highlights the problem and I know there has been national coverage as well because it is not just Shropshire people that are suffering."

After the protest West Mercia Police said the tactics of some protesters "compromised the safety of other road users".

In response Mr Carloman said: "I am disappointed to hear that and refute it. We did everything by the book from talking to the police before the event and on the day, and working within the legal parameters that were set.

"We were asked to pull over when we were on the protest but I didn't have the means of talking to all the other drivers behind me and as far as I was concerned this was a legitimate protest carried out in a lawful way."

Fuel protestors

Self-employed builder Paul Dart from Wolverhampton drove his van on the protest. He is now training to be an HGV driver after seeing his fuel costs go up 50 per cent in a matter of months.

He said: "I can't pass the increase in fuel onto the customers and I just can't go on anymore, I am putting in over £200 a week that is up around £70 on six months ago. I am now training to be an HGV driver, not particulaly because I want to go down that route but I see it as more secure than struggling to run my own business."

Fuel protestors

Daniel Smith works for family run Shifnal based company 7 Valley Transport which has five trucks and which delivers all over the TF and WV postcodes in Shropshire.

But he said they are considering cutting down on the areas they cover because of the fuel costs which have 'sky rocketed' in the last six months.

He said: "We have been running over 20 years and have seen the ups and downs in that time but it is really tough at the moment because we have little option but to pass the costs onto our customers - many of them longstanding - and if we have to cut down on the areas we cover, it will be letting them down altogether."

Police talk with protestors at Telford Services

He added he wasn't just suffering business wise but rented a house with his wife and had seen the cost of heating it rocket as well

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he will carefully consider calls for a “more substantial” fuel duty cut after the 5p per litre reduction implemented in March failed to halt price rises.

Paul Dart

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.

The Government said that while it understands people are struggling with rising prices and have a right to protest, “people’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted” and warned that traffic delays “will only add to fuel use”.