UK truckers discuss protests over high fuel prices

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LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) Hundreds of truckers were set to meet in Scotland today to discuss holding protests against record fuel prices, while Britain's Road Haulage Association (RHA) said any such action had to stay within the law.

The RHA said that, while it sided with truckers whose businesses were being crippled by fuel costs, it saw any use of trucks to obstruct roads ''as pointless, potentially counter-productive and potentially illegal''.

In 2000, blockades by truckers of fuel storage depots and refineries caused widespread petrol shortages and paralysed parts of the country.

RHA spokeswoman Kate Gibbs said RHA representatives of some 1,300 hauliers in Scotland were meeting to decide what action to take over fuel prices.

Asked if it was likely some form of protest would occur she said: ''Feeling is running very high this time, and yes, I think something will happen...we don't have any problem with protesting as long as it is within the law.'' Gibbs said she was not aware of any other haulier meetings in England and Wales taking place.

The RHA's weekly fuel price survey shows fuel prices have risen for 12 consecutive weeks.

The trade organisation warned the Treasury in summer and again in September against an inflationary increase in fuel duty under such circumstances.

''Despite this, the Chancellor went ahead with a 2 pence per litre increase on October 1,'' it said in a statement.

The RHA said diesel prices were at record levels of between 1.06 pound to 1.07 pound (2.21 dollars) per litre, despite the price of diesel costing only around 37 pence per litre before tax.

REUTERS SBC HT2147

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