BBC: Low turnout for fuel tax protests


The BBC reports taht:

Low turnout for fuel tax protests

Demonstrations over the price of petrol have been largely low-key, with small numbers of protesters at refineries.

Organisers said the campaign was meant to be symbolic, claiming it had already put the government "on the back foot".

There has been no repeat of Tuesday's panic-buying of petrol among motorists, and suppliers said those garages which had sold out were being replenished.

Activists want fuel duty to be cut after a series of price rises but said they would not blockade refineries."

"Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said the government was acting to keep petrol costs down and that "since 1999 fuel prices have come down both in real terms and cash terms, in terms of the duty".

The UK Petroleum Industry Association, which represents oil giants Shell, BP, Esso and Total, said prices could fall by as much as 4p a litre next week, as extra oil stocks enter the system.

'Achieved something'

Farmer and haulier Andrew Spence, who was involved in the 2000 protests, said ministers had been forced to make concessions by the latest campaign.

He said that without it "I doubt that the government would have given us the 1.2p freeze in duty proposed for October. I like to think that we have achieved something this week."

Mr Spence, who was among a small group of protesters at the Shell refinery in Jarrow, south Tyneside, said: "We didn't want a lot of people here, I would rather there was just a handful of us."

Another protester, farmer Martin Stevenson, said that despite the low turnout, support for the cause was "very large" as "everybody is dissatisfied with the amount of money they're paying in tax on fuel".

At Purfleet in Essex protesters held placards saying "Support British Hauliers" and "End Labour's War on the Motorist". A man from Sheerness in Kent was arrested for obstructing the highway.

At the Vopek terminal in nearby Thurrock, one protester who drove his car on to the wrong side of the road to try to block a tanker was moved by police. An ambulance was called after he complained that he had hurt his back.

Two demonstrators who turned up at Shell's refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, were frightened off by the size of the media pack, according to a police source.

A number of other refineries saw small-scale demonstrations, while others reported that it was business as usual.

Ray Holloway, of the Petrol Retailers Association, said he was pleased by the low turnout but was cautious because the protesters had threatened three days of disruption.

There is a planned go-slow on the M4 in Wales on Friday to mark the fifth anniversary of protests there.

Emergency plans

In September 2000 many hauliers, farmers, taxi drivers and others joined the protests - which saw refineries blockaded for a day and then picketed - with fuel shortages hitting motorists across the UK.

The government, police and oil industry bosses believe lessons have been learned from the 2000 protests and emergency plans were put in place for dealing with any disrupted fuel supplies.

Chris Hunt, director general of the UK Petroleum Industry Association, said Tuesday's panic-buying was a "blip", as "once you've filled your tank you can't keep doing it".

He also predicted better news for motorists next week, with the pumping of extra oil stocks bringing prices "back down to pre-Katrina levels".

With the cost of a barrel of oil in New York down from $70 to $64 (£35), the AA said it was "cautiously optimistic" about a fall in prices at the pump.

On Tuesday Chancellor Gordon Brown called on Opec countries to boost production to tackle rising oil prices.

And with the protests underway, Alistair Darling said the government needed to stick to long-term tax goals"

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and to comment on, the Fuel Crisis caused by UK Government policy on energy i.e. petrol, diesel, LPG for use in vehicles, and for electricity generation, and the knock on effects on transport, food, domestic heating costs etc.

For a country with North Sea Oil and Gas,why are fuel prices so expensive in the United Kingdom ?

Most of the price for fuel that we pay is Tax to Her Majesty's Treasury, not directly anything to do with the world price of petroleum.

Is it really going to take blockades and protests in the streets again, like in 2000 under the Labour government, before the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government listens to the people and abolishes the tax increases on fuel, which has reached over £1 £1.40 per litre of petrol in many areas ?

Or are they going to mismanage the Fuel Crisis, yet again, but this time invoke their Emergency Powers under the Civil Contingencies Act, or using the vast sureveillance powers of the state to snoop on peaceful protestors ?

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

info @

If you want to send us something confidential, then you can use our PGP public encryption key

UK Fuel Price and Tax statistics

Various statistics on Fuel Prices and rates of Fuel Duty and VAT, are published by the misnamed Department of Energy and Climate Change:

Energy statistics: prices, where you "can download annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly statistics in Microsoft Excel 2000 format"

The Weekly Fuel Prices Table (.xls) is updated each Tuesday at 9.30 am.

Government Website Links

WriteToThem Identify and Contact your Member of Parliament, Members of the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament, European Parliament etc,

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister Tony Blair Gordon Brown gets David Cameron gets hundreds of thousands of letters and emails a year. It is possible to write to or email the Prime Minister, but do not expect him to actuually read your message, let alone respond to it personally.

Her Majesty's Treasury
Complain to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown Alistair Darling George Osborne:
"Emails and letters for the Chancellor and his ministerial team come in the first instance into HM Treasury's Correspondence and Enquiry Unit and then are sent into the Chancellor's Private Office. All correspondence received is replied to, within 15 working days and so you will receive a response."

To email the Chancellor or the ministerial team, the address is:


and to send a letter the address is:

Rt Hon George Osborne MP,
Chancellor of the Exchequer,
HM Treasury,
1 Horse Guards Road,

You can also fax correspondence on:
020 7270 4580

Consumer Focus - the former Energy Watch independent watchdog for gas and electricity consumers has been amalgamted into Consumer Focus

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets - the regulator for Britain's gas and electricity industries.

Department of Energy and Climate Change

The Government Department which is supposed to be coming up with and implementing some sort of strategic Energy Policy for the United Kingdom, was shunted off in October 2008 into the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change, to make way for the return of the twice disgraced Peter Mandleson's return to the Cabinet.

The useless Minister put in charge was Ed Miliband, the younger brother of the equally useless, yet ambitious, Foreign Secretary David Miliband (another example of NuLabour nepotism). - It turns out that both brothers were ambitious for power and Ed Miliband is now the Leader of the Labour party, which is proving to be as incompetent in regard to Energy Policy and Fuel Prices in Opposition, as it was when in power.

The lack of continuity of Ministers in charge of this department has continued under the Coalition, with the Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne resigning to clear his name of driving offence allegations.

The Ministerial team who might make announcements about Energy Policy, or who will be flying off at public expense, to international conferences etc. representing the UK, and who you might wish to write to or lobby in person, are:

So far, these Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government politicians have not been much of an improvement over their incompetent and authoritarian Labour predecessors.

DECC Contact Us web page.

Department of Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place

General enquiries:
0300 060 4000
[standard national rate)


"Enquiries from journalists should always be directed to the DECC Press Office, either as per the IPO Directory (White Book) or via the Enquiry Unit on 0300 060 4000. The out-of-hours number for urgent press enquiries is 020 7215 3505."

The top civil servant is the Permanent Secretary Moira Wallace

The DECC Corporate Governance page list some more of the top civil servants and publishes reports about some of their foreign trips and expenses paid by th etax payer.

N.B. these do not reveal all the extremely rich Energy Company vested interest lobbying activity which obviously influences them more than the plight of the log suffering general public.

Protest Website Links

Fuel Tax Protest - low turnout protests in 2005

Farmers for Action some of the organisers of the fuel protests in 2000

Road Haulage Association online petition

Fuel Website Links

Automobile Association summary of UK and Oversease fuel prices

Rip-Off Britain

Fuel Industry Links

UK Petroleum Industry Association - made up of the 9 companies the main oil refineries in the UK.

UK Petroleum Industry Association Ltd,
Quality House
Quality Court Tel: 020 7269 7600

BP Oil UK Ltd, Witan Gate House, 500/ 600 Witan Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 1ES
Tel: 01908 853000,

ConocoPhillips, ConocoPhillips Centre, 2 Kingmaker Court, Warwick Technology Park, Warwick CV34 6DB
Tel: 01926 404000

Esso UK Ltd, ExxonMobil House, Ermyn Way, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8UX
Tel: 01372 222000

Ineos Refining, INEOS Group Ltd., Hawkslease, Chapel Lane, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7FG
Tel: 0238 0287067

Murco Petroleum Ltd, 4 Beaconsfield Road, St.Albans, AL1 3RH
Tel: 01727 892400

Petroplus UK, St. Mark`s Court, Teesdale, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6QW
Tel: 01642 736101

Shell UK Ltd, Shell Centre, York Road, London SE1 7NA
Tel: 020 7257 3000

ChevronTexaco Ltd, 1 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London E14 4HA
Tel: 020 7719 3000

Total UK Ltd, 40 Clarendon Road, Watford WD1 2TQ
Tel: 01923 694000

Energy Networks Association represents the licensed gas and electricity transmission and distribution companies in the UK.

ENA member companies

Blog Links

Spy Blog - civil liberties, security, privacy, technology, legislation

Global Guerrillas - John Robb

NuLabour blog blog - opposition to the curtailment of peacefule demonstrations and protests around Parliament and Whitehall and beyond.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The hints and tips below are just as important to anybody organising a peaceful Fuel Protest, as they are to other people who might come under UK Government or Multinational Corporation surveillance for their political activties.

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

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