Lorry protest over fuel prices threatens to gridlock Central London

(Times Online) -- Lorry drivers could bring London to a standstill today in what hauliers claim will be the biggest protest against fuel prices.

Up to 1,000 drivers from across the country are expected to descend on the capital in a last-ditch attempt to convey their desperation over rising petrol and diesel costs and fuel duty.

Backed for the first time by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the lobby group TransAction 2007 and the Transport Association, the drivers plan to line their lorries along a closed section of the A40 Westway.

Under police control, a series of convoys, each of 10 to 30 lorries will then move into central London while a delegation of hauliers marches to Parliament.

The lobby group are calling for a rebate of between 20 and 25p per litre on fuel duty to allow the British haulage industry to compete with companies in European countries where fuel is significantly cheaper.

Peter Carroll, spokesman for TransAction and a road haulier, said: “Our industry is being driven out of business. Continental hauliers are able to run in the UK using cheaper fuel from abroad. The Government needs to realise that the surge in oil prices has changed the world. It is madness to insist on charging the highest level of fuel duty in the EU on top of a world price that has rocketed. If nothing is done, thousands of UK hauliers will go bust.”

The “essential user rebate” system is already in use with buses and coaches, which claim a discount of 41p a litre, while lorries pay at full rates.