Essex Police, who made more than 170 arrests, said some protesters remained “in place” on Monday afternoon.

Rachel Nolan, Deputy Chief Constable, said: “Our goal is to get the affected areas back to normal as quickly as possible.

“I want to re-emphasize that policing is not anti-protest, and we will always strive to facilitate protest where we can.

“However, we must intervene when there is a risk to life or when laws are broken – and we will continue to do so.”

The chaos prompted ministers to ‘get the upper hand’ on the disruption, with FairFuelUK saying it was ‘bombarded’ by messages telling them forecourts across the UK were running out of petrol and diesel due to protesters “narrow-minded”.

Howard Cox, the group’s founder, called on Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, to “protect the supply of petrol and diesel to our garage forecourts”.

He said: ‘Don’t let panic buying take over with those unnecessary long queues we saw last year when you failed to act.

“Our economy and millions of daily lives depend on their vehicles.”

Just Stop Oil called on the government to “immediately halt new oil and gas projects in the UK”, due to climate change concerns, while XR accused oil companies of “destroying life”.

Drivers on Twitter reported forecourt fuel shortages in parts of Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire, as well as Norfolk, but petrol retailers insisted the issues were not widespread.

An Esso spokesman said there had been no “significant” disruption, while Sainsbury’s, the country’s biggest petrol retailer, said it “sees no problem”.

RAC’s Simon Williams said: ‘We are aware that protests on Friday and Saturday at 10 fuel terminals in the South East and Midlands disrupted scheduled deliveries.

“This included preventing tanker drivers from leaving terminals to deliver fuel to forecourts and some damage to vehicles and property.

“We understand that operations are now back to normal, which means the forecourts will be receiving new supplies very soon.”

It comes as families prepare for Easter getaways, with demand for staycations expected to remain higher than it was before the pandemic.

More families could be forced to stay in the UK over the Easter holidays amid travel chaos with the cancellation of hundreds of flights they blamed on lack of staff.

Meanwhile, families face higher prices at the pumps as war in Ukraine sparks fears of a squeeze on gas supplies.

Rishi Sunak sought to ease pressure on petrol and diesel prices in his spring statement by cutting fuel taxes by 5p a litre.

However, figures from last week suggested this had not yet been factored into the prices paid by customers, with Experian Catalist saying the average price per liter of petrol had fallen by 3.7p per liter there. a week ago compared to the previous week.

The AA said diesel was down 2.5p at the pump over the same period.

AA’s Luke Bosdet said: “Why aren’t drivers surprised that on average a third of the fuel economy hasn’t yet been passed on to the pump?”

Extracted in full from: Drivers face fuel shortages as climate protesters block oil refineries – The AU Times

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