Lorry drivers from all over the UK are staging a protest in London today against spiralling diesel costs. The protest began in Kent and was due to end with a Park Lane rally, with dozens of vehicles expected to join the event. A delegation from the protest is expected to hand in a symbolic coffin to the Houses of Parliament,
representing the hundreds of haulage firms that they say have gone bankrupt as a result of diesel prices increasing – costs have risen 30% in the last 12 months.
The strike has been organised by TransAction 2007, one of the groups behind the fuel protests in 2000. The BBC reported spokesman Mike Preneill saying: “Our industry is the lifeblood of the UK economy. Fuel is rising on a daily bases. It is now at levels that are bankrupting hundreds of small and medium-sized haulage companies.
“These are the companies that have been built up through hard work often over generations. The government is standing by and watching this happen.” He added that the problem was being made worse by foreign hauliers arriving in the UK with their vehicles full of cheaper fuel from the continent.
The protest began on the M2 motorway in Kent earlier today, with organisers saying that fuel for a typical articulated lorry now cost up to £1,000 a week.
Protesters are also expected to hand a letter summarising their grievances to the Houses of Parliament, together with a copy of the 2005 Burns Inquiry – the independent inquiry into the effect of fuel taxation which stated that the level of diesel duty was higher in the UK than the average EU rate.
The protest follows the strike at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland earlier this week, which saw staff walk out for 48 hours in a dispute over their pensions.