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Logistics boss slams Just Stop Oil protesters at Dartford Crossing

The boss of a logistics company has lashed out at the environmentalist group Just Stop Oil after protesters climbed the cables of the QEII Bridge.

Mike Parr, managing director of PML, which specialises in the transfer of perishable goods, called the actions of those protesting at the Dartford Crossing "irresponsible, irrational, and incredibly dangerous".

Mike Parr, managing director at PML. Picture: PML
Mike Parr, managing director at PML. Picture: PML

He blames the group for causing widespread disruption to drivers and bringing the M25 to a standstill in serious delays, with lorries such as those operated by PML forced to either sit tight or seek an alternative route.

Aerial shots have shown the chaos that is being caused due to the Just Stop Oil protesters.

Fireworks were shot towards the Just Stop Oil campaigners as they slept in their hammocks on the Dartford Crossing last night.

Mr Parr explained how the consequences of the protest activity can go beyond long queues on the road.

He said: “The ramifications of this senseless behaviour are massive. Our drivers are being put under considerable stress, knowing that the cargo they are carrying is time critical since every hour wasted in traffic represents an hour off the shelf life of these goods.

"In addition to this, they have also been put in a position such that even when they are clear of the chaotic scenes at the Dartford Crossing, they can no longer continue driving to try and make up time because legally they have to take a break after being at the wheel - regardless of whether they are at a standstill - every four and a half hours.

Just Stop Oil protestors on the QEII Bridge. Picture: Extinction Rebellion UK
Just Stop Oil protestors on the QEII Bridge. Picture: Extinction Rebellion UK

"Having lorries and all traffic stop and start over such an extended period of time is certainly not helping the carbon emissions agenda. And for a campaign group that wants to put a stop to the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels, it is somewhat ironic that the protest has resulted in even more fuel being used as drivers trying to find alternative routes add unnecessary miles to their journey.

"And let’s not forget the extra work load this has inflicted on the emergency services, who are already under ridiculous pressure. By having to deal with the selfish behaviour of individuals climbing the masts at the bridge, the police, ambulance, and fire brigade may be unable to reach those who find themselves in genuine need of their support.

"The logistics industry has been through enough. Covid. Brexit. Changes in cabotage rules. And now this. Our drivers are at breaking point but you don’t see them protesting."

The boss of the logistics firm, which has bases in Kent and London, said his drivers had to queue up to eight hours after the protesters climbed the bridge in the early hours of Monday morning.

"The whole of the transport schedule has been thrown out of sync," he said.

"Containers delayed being delivered to customers for packing, so it has cost everybody quite a bit of money.

"We're losing money every day at the moment because where a driver could go and deliver a container and possibly get back within his tacho hours [tachographs record information about driving time] to collect another one, that's impossible.

"So the drivers are being restricted on how many loads they can do. They're still getting paid, but as a company, we are losing money. And the efficiency's gone out the window.

Just Stop Oil have been protesting every day for the past two weeks. Picture: Just Stop Oil
Just Stop Oil have been protesting every day for the past two weeks. Picture: Just Stop Oil

He added: "I agree with individuals protesting but to hold a country to ransom, I think they need to realise that that what they're actually affecting it's not just financial, but they're actually doing more harm to the world with what they're doing because our vehicles are having to take longer routes, additional diesel is being burned because we're having to run the fridges longer.

"And the poor farmer who spent months and months growing the product, potentially could be going into the bin. So, I'd like for them to just tell us what do they think they're achieving? They're actually polluting the world even more."

"I'm disappointed that they've managed to climb the bridge. I thought surely we'd have had better security around such an important structure to the road industry in the UK.

"But surely they have to be held responsible, not just for out product perishing, but when they're blocking roads and you have individuals trying to get to hospital, they have to be held responsible should anything happen to those individuals because it is down to them."

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