Around a dozen motorways and trunk roads in England and Scotland were temporarily paralyzed earlier this week.

Hundreds of vans, trucks and tractors blocked the roads and caused long traffic jams by driving at very slow speeds.

The Fuel Price Stand Against Tax group is calling on the government to take action against high petrol and diesel prices.

Philip Pickert

Business correspondent based in London.

  • Follow I follow

She has 50,000 followers on Facebook.

Police arrested 12 people involved in a protest on the M4 motorway from London to Wales.

Meanwhile, a third of a million people signed a petition for a reduction in fuel taxes.

The reduction of 5 pence (6 euro cents) per liter decided in the spring has slowed the rise to record levels only slightly.

At many petrol stations, a liter of diesel costs more than 2 pounds (2.30 euros), petrol has risen to over 1.90 pounds.

A Vincent van Gogh painting

The street protests were organized in part by small business owners, artisans and farmers.

Now speculation is that Britain could be at the forefront of protests inspired by the French 'yellow vest' movement.

This would open up a second front, after climate activists such as "Extinction Rebellion" in particular had caused a stir with traffic disruptions.

They invented a new tactic.

Self-proclaimed climate activists from the Just Stop Oil group invade museums and tape themselves to paintings.

On Monday, John Constable's 1821 "Haywagon" became a target at the National Gallery.

Activists covered the famous landscape painting with a somber scene: the river is built over by a road, the sky is full of planes and smoke, trees are burning.

Two activists attached their hands to the frame with quick glue.

Museum conservators assume only minor property damage.

Last week, two young women glued themselves to the frame of a Vincent van Gogh painting at London's Courtauld Gallery in a protest against the heat and drought in southern France.

There were also protest scenes at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday: activists stormed onto the road while Formula 1 racing cars were still doing laps there.

The energy crisis creates unrest

The activists are demanding that the government immediately halt all new oil and gas exploration projects in the UK.

However, it doesn't look like that.

Boris Johnson's government is committed to the statutory goal of reducing the country's carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

On the other hand, the energy price crisis is causing great unrest among the population.

The price of oil and natural gas, which has been rising sharply since the Ukraine war, has in part led to a rethink in London that new oil and gas fields should be explored in the North Sea.

Economics and Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng is also in favor of reducing dependency on imports.

This week the government must also decide whether to give permission for a new coal mine near the northern English port of Whitehaven.

It would be the first new coal mine on the island in more than thirty years.

Proponents argue that the Cumbrian mine is intended to replace Russian coal imports for the steel industry.

In the structurally weak region there is support for mining, which would create jobs;

However, climate protectors are outraged.

The Minister responsible, Michael Gove, has until Thursday to decide whether to grant approval.

Another major issue is fracking.

A scientific report from the British Geological Society (BGS) on the opportunities and threats is due to be published this week.

Fracking had been tried at several sites in northern England years ago, but the London government halted exploratory drilling in 2019 after a series of minor tremors.

Cuadrilla, which invested a quarter billion in the exploratory drilling, has recently made a new move and wants residents of the region to share in expected profits.

The BGS estimated in a previous report that there is so much gas stuck in the northern English shale that it could outpace UK needs for many years.

Some ministers in Johnson's cabinet and Tory MPs want to reopen the door to controversial gas production.

Environmental groups like "Frack off" are strictly against it.