8 September 2000
Farmers threaten to block road

By FWi staff

MILITANT British farmers and hauliers have warned the next step in their protest at rising fuel prices will involve blocking part of the A1 near Gateshead.

Police are expecting between 50 and 70 vehicles to take part in the protest that will block one southbound lane for just over an hour from 3.45pm on Friday (08 Sep), reports web-based news service Ananova.

The vehicles will congregate at Birtley and then drive to the A1s junction with the A692 before stopping by the Team Valley Trading Estate for 61 minutes.

Organisers say the extra minute is to mark the suicides of farmers, hauliers and fishermen whose bankruptcies were cause in part by high fuel prices.

The protest comes only hours after the Farmers For Action group joined up with lorry drivers to protest at the Shell Stanlow refinery near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

Farmers used tractors to blockade the refinery, copying tactics being used by French farmers in their dispute over fuel prices.

The police broke up the blockade at 4.30 am but Farmers for Action spokesman Dave Handley made it clear that it was not the end for the protesters.

He said the demonstration could escalate into “a winter of unrest” and warned that future protests would be closer to London.