Re G8 see report below:
Whitehall is on an emergency footing should trouble occur during the current Fuel Protests. They are monitoring the latest threats of protests by hauliers, farmers and ordinary motorists, with the Police and oil companies on alert for any blockades such as the one at Stanlow refinery this morning.
About 1000 troops were trained to drive fuel tankers during the protests of 2000 and they can and will be deployed if necessary. A Department of Trade and Industry spokesman confirmed that the Government, police and oil industry were on alert to cope with the possible resumption of fuel protests.
Haulage industry sources have said that the protestors do not wish to hold the country to ransom but want to highlight to ministers that high cost of diesel in this country compared to that on the Continent. They also want to drive home the message that many firms are now on the brink of going under.
Protestors want to meet with treasury and transport ministers as well as presenting a national website petition - www.findcheappetrol.com - to Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy on May 3. To bring fuel prices in the UK into line with the Continent, the haulage industry want a cut of 17p / litre from the duty levied on unleaded petrol and 26p / litre off the price of diesel.
Following Friday's meeting of hauliers in Stirling, Road Haulage Association member Jim Macauley said that whilst there would be no militant action, other possibilities such as protesting during the G8 Summit or, the entire industry stopping work for a day, were being considered.
The hauliers are also trying to win support from the tanker drivers themselves. But a spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union, of which 3000 tanker drivers are members, denied that they had been contacted by the protestors.
The spokesman said that many of the tanker drivers still had bad memories of the 2000 protests when they had been abused and criticised by the protestors. However the TGWU did accept that among many drivers and hauliers there was a strong opinion that fuel prices were too high.
The campaign for lower fuel duty is being backed by the AA Motoring Trust and the recent surge in prices is inflaming concerns over the economy in general.
Whether the troops will be needed remains to be seen, but this is certainly an issue that won't just go away.
oil be damned!