'Go-slow' fuel price protest expected to affect A1 traffic

  • Video report by Julia Breen

Farmer Andrew Spence, who led widespread fuel protests in 2000, returned to action today (20 November) by leading a go-slow to campaign against the rising cost of diesel.

The 54-year-old from Leadgate, County Durham, organised refinery blockades with his Fuel Lobby more than 20 years ago and he is now calling for a "substantial" reduction in prices.

He took a 5mph convoy of vehicles up the A1 from Team Valley into Newcastle via the Tyne Bridge and back again.

Mr Spence says rising fuel prices are leaving farmers making decisions over whether to fill up the tank for work or feed the family.

Andrew Spence, 2000

Today, he brought havoc to the area, blocking roads and causing huge tailbacks in a bid to force the Government to cap the price of fuel.

In response to Mr Spence's concerns, a Government spokesperson said:

“Fuel prices are increasing in countries across the world and this is not an issue unique to the UK.

“We’ve provided £4.2 billion of support to help people with the cost of living, including effectively cutting taxes for workers on Universal Credit, providing £500m of targeted support for the most vulnerable families and freezing fuel duty for the twelfth year in a row.”

Angry motorists took to Facebook to slam the protests.Diane Ray said: "As if that roads not bad enough already. Making it difficult for those of us who will be heading to work on the A1 bout that time."Lorraine Brockbank added: "Not good. Effects people going getting to work emergency services doing their job polluting the air."Taj Bannedagain wrote: "This will not achieve anything. Maybe if they brought London to a standstill for a couple of days but stopping normal people getting on with their lives is a bad idea."

Responding to his critics Mr Spence says, "Show me the right way to protest. We did this in 2000 and 2005 and we got rid of fuel duty and abolished tractor tax, which meant a lot to me."We've had keyboard warriors online and people criticising the plans but they're brainwashed, the fight in people has gone."That's not the country that I was brought up in, you stand up when something is wrong."

It comes as the RAC is calling on retailers slash record fuel prices to reflect a drop in wholesale costs.

The motoring services firm says retailers need to "play fair with drivers" by reducing the price of a litre of petrol by 6p.

Last month, fuel prices surpassed record highs set in April 2012, and they have continued to rise.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams says, "In the last few days the wholesale price of petrol has fallen steeply, which means the biggest retailers are in a great position to cut prices and ease the burden being felt by drivers throughout the UK who are paying £80 for a full 55-litre tank.

"As the big four supermarkets are responsible for selling 45% of all the country's fuel, they are constantly buying new supply so they're able to pass on the savings to customers straightaway - unlike smaller retailers who tend only to buy in fuel once a fortnight.

"The longer they hold off doing the right thing, the more money they make on every litre they sell and the worse off drivers are.