Protests blamed for 'temporary and localised' fuel supply problem

Tesco Bar Hill, one of several Cambridgeshire petrol stations without fuel on April 8.

Tesco Bar Hill, one of several Cambridgeshire petrol stations without fuel today (April 8) - Credit: Archant

Protests at some of the UK's largest oil terminals have caused shortages at petrol stations in Cambridgeshire.

A retail expert has said that deliveries are taking place, and that shortages at forecourts today (April 8) are localised and temporary.

But pumps ran out of fuel by midday at supermarkets in Ely, Bar Hill and Cambridge.

Queues outside forecourts have forced some bus drivers to miss their stops.

HGV fuel ran out at Birchanger Green services on the M11

HGV fuel ran out at Birchanger Green services on the M11 - Credit: Archant

The temporary shortage follows several days of environmental protests at some of the UK's largest fuel depots, including the Navigator oil terminal at Thurrock, Essex.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesperson, said: "We are aware that protests last Friday and Saturday at 10 fuel terminals in the South East and Midlands caused some disruption to planned deliveries.

"This included tanker drivers being prevented from leaving terminals to deliver fuel to forecourts and some damage to vehicles and property.

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"We understand that operations are now back to normal which will mean forecourts will be receiving new supplies."

Cambridgeshire County Council warned of heavy traffic near Morrisons and BP on the A1123 and A1096 at St Ives.

On social media, a Twitter user named Sarah wrote: "Been sitting in Morrisons car park for over an hour. Moved 15 metres. Just want to go home."

Cambridge bus routes Citi 1 and Citi 3 were unable to serve their stop at Tesco Fulbourn due to queues.

"Tesco has kindly diverted the traffic to their petrol pumps so that services 1 and 3 can get to the bus stop," a Stagecoach spokesperson said.

At Birchanger Green services on the M11 - between London and Cambridge - HGV fuel had run out by midday.

A spokesperson for Shell, which runs the forecourt, said: "We’re aware of the protests at various UK terminals this week.

"We are working hard to minimise any disruption to supply."

Empty petrol pumps (File picture)

Empty petrol pumps (File picture) - Credit: PA/Gareth Fuller

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it has heard about very localised fuel shortages which are mainly impacting car drivers rather than the distribution industry at large.

"We are not hearing of a huge supply problem from our members, certainly not nationwide," Paul Mummery of the RHA told this newspaper.

They said that the main problem which hauliers were facing is the price of fuel.

They said: "The wholesale price of petrol is starting to fall, but the prices which we pay are not where we would expect them to be."

Protesters from Just Stop Oil began a campaign with the intention of disrupting the UK's petrol and diesel supply on April 1.

Pictures show protesters inside fuel terminals and on top of tankers in Essex, Hertfordshire and the Midlands.

Just Stop Oil protesters at the Navigator Thames oil terminal, Essex

Just Stop Oil protesters at the Navigator Thames oil terminal, Essex - Credit: Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil protesters on top of a tanker at one of their demonstrations

Just Stop Oil protesters on top of a tanker at one of their demonstrations. They are campaigning to end to fuel poverty and prevent climate change - Credit: Just Stop Oil

"The quickest and cheapest way to lower our energy bills and cut demand for imported oil and gas is through insulation, renewables and free public transport," said Just Stop Oil protester Louis McKechnie, aged 21.

"That the government is rejecting these common sense no brainer measures suggests they are corrupt or stupid. Either way they don’t represent me.

"I refuse to be complicit in the ongoing destruction of people’s lives and communities."

Protesters have said they will not stop demonstrating until the government agrees to end new UK oil and gas projects.