27 October 2000
Troop practice breaking blockades
By FWi staff
EVIDENCE of governments plans to thwart further fuel blockades is growing as the countdown to renewed action continues.
Army personnel in unmarked petrol tankers have been carrying out dummy runs to filling stations this week while military bases are being used for storage.
The Governments efforts to undermine any future blockades have drawn sharp criticism from protesters.
Brynle Williams, the Welsh farmer who led protesters at the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire, told the BBC: “Forty days have gone and the deadline is approaching.
“The government has done nothing to address the points of the protest; [it has acted] only to stop us repeating our actions.”
Mr Williams added that he believed government planned to withdraw the operators licences of lorry drivers caught taking part in protests.
Farmers For Action activist Richard Haddock has claimed this week that it would be “a fatal mistake” for the government to bring in troops as this would raise tension.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Gordon Brown has pledged not to restore the fuel duty escalator.
The fuel escalator is a measure whereby taxes are increased every year by a rate above that of inflation
His intervention follows claims by environment minister Michael Meacher that the escalator could be reintroduced if oil prices dipped.