Police warn of ‘serious disruption’ to roads as protesters set to target motorways over fuel duty

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Motorists could face “serious disruption throughout the day,” police have warned, as protesters are expected to target motorways in a demonstration over high fuel prices.

Roads across the country could see traffic jams as protesters call for a cut in fuel duty.

They will target mostly three-lane motorways and result in slow-downs on two lanes, leaving the fast lane free, according to FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox.

Demonstrators are expected to block the Prince of Wales Bridge crossing between England and Wales, and disruption is also possible in Essex and Gloucestershire.

The protesters are understood to have been organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has 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.

Figures from data firm Experian show the average price f 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 although 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”.

Gwent Police said protests are expected to take place on the road network between 7am and 7pm on Monday, with organisers having indicated an intention to block the Prince of Wales Bridge.

They said organisers had indicated the protest would start on the M4 at Magor services, junction 23A eastbound, and junction 20 of the M4 westbound.

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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 journeys.

The airport tweeted: “Please note that there is a planned fuel protest to block the River Severn Bridge crossings this Monday July 4 from 8.30am.

“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.”

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‘Policing operation to limit disruption’

Essex Police Chief Inspector Anna Granger said her officers “are experienced at dealing with incidents which cause significant disruption”.

She said: “We will be monitoring the situation closely and have a policing operation in place to limit disruption.”

Gloucestershire Police said protests will likely affect the A48, causing travel disruption in the Gloucester and Forest of Dean areas.

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.”

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