21 September 1998
Police to prosecute Severn Bridge farmers?
By FWi staff
POLICE are considering prosecutions after scores of angry farmers brought traffic to a standstill yesterday (Sunday) by blocking both bridges across the River Severn.
Traffic heading in both directions was blocked as more than 300 farmers from the West Country and Wales joined forces to protest against the strong Pound and imports of cheap meat. The farmers claim imports are ruining their livelihoods.
No arrests were made, but police are examining video footage before deciding whether to prosecute those behind the demonstration.
Tailbacks formed on the M4 and M49 motorways as a group of about 40 farmers walked across the new Severn crossing in front of a convoy of cars. The farmers carried a pair of bright yellow curtains with a banner which asked: “Is it curtains for British farming?”
A police spokesman said the farmers paid the toll-fee in penny coins.
Traffic queues stretched for several miles, with major disruptions at the M4-M5 interchange. Police diverted traffic to the old Severn bridge but the farmers also blocked the M48 motorway on the Welsh side of the river.
It was the first time the new Severn bridge has been closed since it opened three years ago.