'Slow-moving convoy' joins M5 in fuel price protest

·3-min read

A "slow-moving convoy" has joined the M5 in a protest against high fuel prices, police have said.

The Avon and Somerset force said a "protest convoy of about 10 vehicles" had entered the motorway northbound at J24 for Bridgwater.

It tweeted: "Currently there are no delays on motorways in our area due to protest activity but some motorists may experience longer journey times today."

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Officers added: "A small number of vehicles have also set off along the A38 north from M5 J24.

"We understand they are travelling slowly to the Shell petrol station near Bridgwater's Express Park to conduct a protest at the forecourt."

Police warned previously that the M4 and M32 could also be affected.

Fuel Price Stand Against Tax, a Facebook group with 53,000 members, shared a post suggesting activists will assemble "nationwide" to make their voices heard.

Protests are planned in Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

An estimated 18.8 million leisure trips are planned in the UK between Friday and Monday, the RAC said, as schools across England and Wales break up for summer.

The M25 is feared to be worst-affected by traffic jams not caused by protests, in particular stretches between Bromley and the Dartford Crossing; Maple Cross and the M3; and the M23 to the M40.

Queues are also likely to develop on the A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire; the M4 between Cardiff and Newport, south Wales, and the M5 south of Bristol, according to transport analytics company, Inrix.

It is the latest in a series of protests amid mounting anger over the fuel crisis - as record prices see people across the nation battle to financially stay afloat.

Avon and Somerset Police said its protest liaison team had engaged with the protest organisers in a bid to help minimise disruption.

The M5 convoy is expected to travel between Bridgwater and the Almondsbury Interchange, then east along the M4 and to Junction 1 of the M32.

It is expected to leave the motorway and stop "for a period of time" before completing the same route in reverse.

Twelve people were arrested after the same slowing-down tactics brought parts of the M4 to a standstill on 4 July.

Motorists are also facing long delays at the Port of Dover after three-hour waits to complete border control and admin on Thursday.

The port said "woefully inadequate" French staffing was to blame for "major disruption" and a "critical incident" had been declared.

Falling prices not passed on to drivers

New analysis by the RAC found just 4% of forecourts are charging below 180p a litre for petrol.

Four out of five of those sites are independent - with the rest owned by supermarkets or oil companies.

Traditionally, supermarkets have been the first to introduce discounts.

Read more:
Nine tips to reduce how much fuel you use
What happens if I can't afford to drive to work?

The average price at which retailers buy petrol has fallen by 17p a litre since the start of June.

But prices at the pump have dropped by a "paltry 4p", the data showed.

The RAC believes motorists should pay 174p a litre of petrol and 189p for diesel.

But the average price of a litre of petrol on Wednesday was 187.5p, while diesel cost 196.1p, according to data company Experian.

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