Fuel duty victory for industry but war continues

The haulage industry has been given a short-term relief from escalating fuel prices following the Chancellor’s pledge to scrap the planned January duty rise of 3ppl as well as reducing the August rise by 2ppl to 3ppl.

The announcement by George Osborne in his autumn statement on Tuesday (29 November) is being seen as another victory for the FairFuelUK (FFUK) campaign, which was instrumental in getting the April duty rise abandoned.

"Without FFUK, this wouldn’t have happened," says Geoff Dunning, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, one of the key FFUK supporters. "We’ve won another battle, but the war continues. We need a long-term strategy to tackle the problem of crippling fuel costs."

Theo De Pencier, chief executive of the Freight Transport Association and fellow FFUK backer, adds: "We have avoided a horrendous new year’s hangover; Januarys rise would have cost the industry around £325m. But while we are relieved that the Chancellor has steered us out of immediate danger, it is obvious that getting the UK back on the road to recovery requires a long-term fuel duty strategy.

"The government must now look at taking more substantive steps to invoke a longer term fuel duty policy that doesn’t punish business, prevent growth and grind those wheels to a halt."

FFUK founder Peter Carroll says: "We have to keep fighting and win the argument that it’s better to cut duty because that will be what really gets the economy moving."

Wincanton tanker spreads Marmite yeast across M1

A Wincanton tanker overturned on the M1 last night (28 November), spilling its load of 23.5 tonnes of yeast destined for a Marmite factory, across carriageways in both directions. South Yorkshire Police are appealing for witnesses.

The driver of the tanker, a 56-year-old from Rotherham, tried to overtake a slow-moving campervan on the southbound carriageway between junction 33 and junction 32, when the back of the tanker caught the wing mirror of the campervan causing him to lose control of the vehicle. The HGV swerved across all three lanes, collided with the central reservation and overturned, spilling its load of yeast.

The tanker driver was taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries, while the campervan driver was unharmed.

As a result of the spillage, the motorway was closed overnight in both directions until an Environment Agency (EA) clean-up operation was able to remove the yeast, as it is known to have devastating effects on wildlife.

Wincanton, which hauls goods for Marmite parent Unilever, says it is now working with police and authorities to establish the cause of the accident.

If anyone has information on the incident, call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 1240.