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French farmers block fuel depots in oil row

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ISLANDERS are being urged to ensure they fill up with fuel before travelling to France, after farmers began blockading refineries and depots.

More than 100 filling stations, mainly near Paris, Lyon and Nantes, were either low on supplies or had run out, according to French media reports this week.

Farmers are protesting against oil firm Total importing palm oil for use in biofuels, which farmers see as a threat to their production of domestic biofuel from rapeseed.

The disruption comes amid rail strikes which have pushed freight and commuters on to the roads, increasing demand for fuel.

The AA says relatively few stations are affected, but are advising holidaymakers to ensure their tanks are full before heading to France. Edmund King, the organisation’s president, added: ‘This dispute should not discourage anyone from continuing with their holiday plans.

‘Relatively few fuel stations are affected and they are most likely at the busiest locations.

‘The French agriculture ministry has pointed out that it is local panic buying that leads to shortages while the ministry of transport says the nation has a strategic stock equivalent to three months’ fuel supplies.

‘Keep calm and carry on driving.’

In the summer of 2016 motorists in France faced widespread fuel shortages due to blockades caused by a dispute over labour reforms.

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
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