Warning as petrol price protests to slow traffic to a crawl today
Drivers planning on travelling on the roads today (July 22) are being warned of congestion chaos, as petrol price protesters are set to slow traffic down to a crawl amid the busiest summer getaway in at least eight years. Police are warning traffic jams are expected to be even worse than usual as protesters are set to march the streets combined with families heading on trips as most schools in England and Wales have broken up for summer this week. According to the RAC, an estimated 18.8 million leisure trips are planned in the UK between Friday and Monday.
That is the most since the company began tracking summer getaway numbers in 2014. READ MORE: Police incident over as A50 reopens - latest updates Demonstrations will be held "nationwide" an image posted on Facebook group Fuel Price Stand Against Tax suggests, including in Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
This morning, Avon and Somerset Police warned motorists that "slow-moving roadblocks" are planned on parts of the M4, M5, M32 and A38. Superintendent Tony Blatchford urged drivers to consider "alternative travel plans" due to the pump price protests. He said: "Our protest liaison team has been engaging with the organiser so we can inform the public of the likely disruption and help to minimise it.
"Nevertheless, drivers can expect journey times will likely be longer than normal, especially on motorways, which often tend to be at their busiest at this time of year. We advise motorists to consider any alternative travel plans available and ensure they are suitably prepared in case they are delayed." The first stage of Friday's action in the South West will see vehicles travel north on the M5 between Bridgwater and the Almondsbury Interchange from about 8.45am, then east along the M4 and to Junction 1 of the M32.
The convoy is expected to leave the motorway and stop "for a period of time" before completing the same route in reverse, arriving back in Bridgwater "in the early afternoon", police said. A second group of protesters is planning to drive slowly to the Shell petrol station in Bristol Road, Bridgwater. "They are expected to block the forecourt during the morning," according to police. There are also long queues at the Port of Dover - a day after travellers were forced to queue for up to three hours on Thursday, July 21, to complete border control and check-in.
Staffing at French border control at the Port of Dover is "woefully inadequate" causing holidaymakers to be stuck in long queues, the Kent port said. The Port of Dover said in a statement: "On behalf of passengers trying to get on their way for a well-earned summer holiday, HGV drivers performing their critical role of delivering goods, our community who are severely impacted, our ferry operators awaiting their customers, our own port staff who have worked so hard in good faith and all of our Kent and Government partners with whom we have prepared together over several months for the busy summer. "We are deeply frustrated that the resource at the French border overnight and early this morning has been woefully inadequate to meet our predicted demand and even more deeply regret the consequences that will now be felt by so many.
Transport analytics company Inrix believes the M25 - London's orbital motorway - could see some of the worst jams due to the summer getaway, singling out the stretches between Bromley and the Dartford Crossing; Maple Cross and the M3; and the M23 to the M40. The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, the M4 between Cardiff and Newport in south Wales, and the M5 south of Bristol are also likely to see queuing traffic. It comes as figures from data company Experian show the average price of a litre of petrol on Wednesday was 187.5p, while diesel was 196.1p.