On this day in auto history - September 12th

Sun 12th Sep 2021

It was on this day in 2000 that Government ministers held a series of emergency meetings to deal with an escalating 'fuel crisis’ caused by a series of protests and blockades.

The crisis had begun five days earlier when around 100 UK farmers and lorry drivers - already frustrated at paying the highest petrol prices in the developed world - reacted angrily to a further 2p a litre fuel hike by blockading the Stanley Shell Oil Refinery in Cheshire.

Over the ensuing days further blockades at refineries followed whilst hundreds of lorries and taxi drivers staged organised “go slow” protests on major roads, largely backed by public support.

Faced with a ‘run’ on petrol as increasing numbers of nervous motorists began 'panic-buying’, Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to convene a series of COBRA committee meetings to deal with the crisis. Measures put in place included providing oil company tankers with police escorts and putting the NHS on red alert.

Two days later the crisis was over when most of the fuel protestors called off the blockades, saying they had made their point 'loud and clear’. This came amid a BBC opinion poll which showed that public support for the protestors had plummeted from a high of 78% to just 36% once it became evident essential services were being affected.