11 September 2000
Scots set to join fuel protest

By FWi Staff

SCOTTISH farmers are set to join lorry drivers on the streets of Edinburgh on Tuesday (12 September) as protests escalate about the cost of fuel.

A convoy of lorries and tractors is expected to drive through the streets before a rally for farmers and truckers at the Ingliston showground outside the city.

Jim Walker, president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland, said producers had been hit hard by price rises because of the distance from the market.

“We are increasingly disillusioned with the lack of action by government on the fact that we pay 60% more than the European average for diesel,” he said.

The price of red diesel, which farmers buy at a discount for agricultural purposes, has risen by up to 150% over the past year, according to some estimates.

Mr Walker said the price rise was hitting farmers twice – as a crippling bill for essential farm supplies and higher costs for moving products to market places.

“We need a road haulage and taxation policy which reflects the realities of living and working in rural Scotland,” he said.

“The situation is completely unsustainable. We look to the Scottish Parliament to back our calls for the Treasury to take urgent action.”

Six of the UKs nine oil refineries and four distribution depots were being blockaded on Monday (11 September), according to newswire reports.

The oil giant Shell said up to 120 of its 250 petrol stations in northwest England were almost empty after its Stanlow refinery was blockaded.

The pressure group Farmers For Action has pledged that the protests will continue until the government acts to reduce the price of fuel.