Low-level disruptions to fuel supply for UK service stations continued Monday as environmental protestors remained locked to energy infrastructure.
Hundreds of motorists had problems filling up their vehicles in recent days because of protests, said Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, a campaign group for drivers. Shortages primarily involved diesel and occurred mainly below England’s midlands, he said.
Earlier on Monday, as many as 12 people were locked to pipework at the Inter Terminal in Essex while others occupied a tunnel near Warwickshire’s Kingsbury Oil terminal, said Just Stop Oil, a coalition of groups that’s against new fossil fuel licensing and production. Essex and Warwickshire police have arrested more than 500 people since protests began April 1.
“The ongoing protest activity is affecting some deliveries, but disruptions are localized and short-term only,” said a spokesperson for the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association. “Fuels continue to be delivered, meaning stocks are being replenished.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the protesters were “selfish, fanatical, and frankly dangerous so-called activists,” the Daily Mail reported. Earlier this month, she accepted a 100,000-pound ($130,360) donation from Andurand Ventures Ltd., a company run by one of the world’s most-prominent oil traders, the Guardian reported.
The government is working with industry representatives to make sure supplies are maintained, a spokesperson said. The main opposition Labour Party called for immediate, nationwide injunctions to block the “Just Stop Oil” demonstrations.
When protests started on April 1, deliveries of road fuels to service stations in Great Britain fell to their lowest since New Year’s Day, government data show. Stock levels were at their worst in eastern England around the start of the month and at their best in the northeast, northwest and the Yorkshire and The Humber area.
Any ongoing disruptions appear to be localized and limited. Contributing to the problem is people on community social-media groups messaging about a specific service station that’s run out of a particular fuel, encouraging others to fill up when they hadn’t planned to, according to the AA, the U.K.’s largest motoring organization.
“On the A33 yesterday, a busy road throughout the day, there was a fuel station with an ‘out of diesel’ sign. Five miles away on the parallel A30, a quieter road, there were two forecourts on opposite sides of the road with few cars and loads of both fuels,” a spokesperson for AA said. “That’s how random it can get.”
Shell and Essar Oil declined to comment, and ExxonMobil has said it won’t comment.