FRUSTRATED drivers were spotted playing football on the M4 this morning after fuel protests brought traffic to a standstill.
Motorists got out of their cars for a kickabout amid the “serious disruption” over soaring petrol prices.
Demonstrators are targeting motorways across the UK today in demonstration over rising costs at the pumps.
Brits have been urged to work from home as roads are subject to 12 hours of traffic jams while activists call for a cut in fuel duty.
Groups hit parts of the M4 from 7am, with a convoy of around 20 vehicles seen at the Magor services near Caldicot, South Wales.
Organisers have also blocked the Prince of Wales Bridge crossing between England and Wales.
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On the M4, three men were caught on camera kicking a ball to each other as they waited for the traffic to start moving.
The trio seemed not to care that doing so is illegal under traffic law.
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Today’s protests will clog mainly three-lane motorways and see slow-downs on two lanes, leaving the fast lane free, according to FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox.
While he said his organisation is not involved in the action, he is “fully supportive” of the demonstrations so long as they are conducted legally.
The protests are understood to be organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he will carefully consider calls for a “more substantial” fuel duty cut after the 5p per litre reduction implemented in March failed to halt price rises.
Figures from data firm Experian show the average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 191.4p on Thursday, while diesel rose to 199.1p.
Mobile welder Richard Dite said it is costing him over £300 in fuel to get to work every week due to the hikes.
The 44-year-old, from Maesteg, said: “My only option soon will be to put the welding gear in the shed and call it a day, maybe go on the dole.
“Face it at this rate I’ll be on more that way.”
Fuel cost me £280 over two days last week. It’s unbelievable.
Former HGV driver Vicky Stamper, 41, from Cwmbran, said she and her partner Darren had to leave jobs in Bristol because they could not afford the fuel any longer.
Ms Stamper said: “It was costing us £380 a week just to get to and from work.”
And Martin Crowley, a self-employed exotic animal courier, said soaring fuel prices are damaging his livelihood.
“Fuel cost me £280 over two days last week. It’s unbelievable,” the 48-year-old, from Cardiff, said.
“You can hardly make a living any more.”
The Government said while it understands people are struggling with rising prices and have a right to protest, “day-to-day lives should not be disrupted” and traffic delays “will only add to fuel use”.
Mr Cox said: “I totally support their protest because people have reached the end of their tethers at the moment.”
He said other countries had cut fuel duty by more than the UK and asked “why the hell are we not doing it here?”
Mr Cox called for a cut of at least 20p, and warned that protests will continue if not.
He said: “There is an appetite [for such protest].
“If the Government don’t actually deliver on this, I think there’s going to be some serious escalation of protests.”
Gwent Police said protests are expected to take place on the road network between 7am and 7pm on Monday.
They said organisers had indicated an intention to halt motorists on the Prince of Wales Bridge, with the protest starting on the M4 at Magor services, junction 23A eastbound, and junction 20 of the M4 westbound.
Before 9am, delayed motorists began to get our of their cars and play football to pass the time.
Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said he would encourage drivers to reconsider their journey, consider working from home and avoid the area where possible.
Bristol Airport advised travellers to allow extra time for their journeys.
In a tweet, the airport said: “Please note that there is a planned fuel protest to block the River Severn Bridge crossings this Monday July 4 from 8.30am.
“The protest will likely affect the M5, M4 and the two crossings to Wales. Please allow extra time if travelling to or from the airport.”
Essex Police Chief Inspector Anna Granger said her officers “are experienced at dealing with incidents which cause significant disruption”.
She said: “We will be monitoring the situation closely and have a policing operation in place to limit disruption.”
Gloucestershire Police said protests are likely to affect the A48, causing travel disruption in the Gloucester and Forest of Dean areas.
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A Government spokesperson said: “While we respect the right to protest, people’s day-to-day lives should not be disrupted, especially on busy motorways where lives are put at risk and resulting traffic delays will only add to fuel use.
“The new Public Order Bill will make it a criminal offence to glue yourself to a dangerous motorway, which sees police spending hours trying to safely remove people.”