Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pump Queues Build Up as Army Put on Standby

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pump Queues Build Up as Army Put on Standby

Article excerpt

THE FIRST signs of panic buying of petrol appeared in London today amid fears of a fuel shortage. Drivers in parts of the capital as well as Yorkshire and the North-East reported queues at petrol stations. Retailers said trade had been "brisk" and called for common sense.

Ministers are preparing plans to use tough new anti-terror powers and deploy the police and Army to prevent a repeat of the crippling fuel price protests of five years ago. Tony Blair will chair a BY PAUL WAUGH, Deputy Political Editor Cabinet meeting tomorrow where the fuel protest is likely to be discussed. The meeting is likely to be briefed on the expected scale of any disruption and how the law can be used to minimise its impact.

Andrew Spence, spokesman for the Fuel Lobby, which is planning protests at the price of petrol from Wednesday to Friday, claimed that he had been forced to join queues today. "I've waited 20 minutes myself this morning before I took the cattle to market," he said.

Reports of problems at the pumps have raised fears of a repeat of scenes in 2000, when queues formed at filling stations across the country.

Protests later this week could bring disruption, with the Fuel Lobby calling on the public to "attend" oil refineries from 6am on Wednesday.

"We are not calling for a blockade, but if oil companies decide they cannot send out lorries while there is a public presence at their site, then that is a matter for them," said Mr Spence.

A motorway go-slow is also planned for the M4.

The protest has been sparked by the price of petrol which has reached [pounds sterling]1 a litre on many sites after rising more than 20 per cent in recent months.

There are fears it could rise higher because of disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Campaigners from the Fuel Lobby have given ministers until tomorrow to meet them to discuss their grievances - or face the protests. …

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