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The question Fuel shortages

So how was the fuel crisis for you?

I was lucky enough to have a full tank of petrol, and do very little mileage.

In principle I would agree with the protest as I think the tax on petrol is too high. But I would be happy to continue paying the same level of tax if the Government were clearly using the revenue to improve public transport.

Chris Lewis, 24, graduate, Newcastle

I had to cancel site visits to preserve fuel, though many sites were shut down or just ticking over. Other colleagues travelled by train where feasible or worked from home. I do not agree with the blockades because the Government is put in a situation where it dare not give in or it will set a precedent and lead to similar situations in the future. The tax may be high but we elect governments to manage our affairs. If we dislike them we vote against them at the next election. It is called democracy.

Mike Battman, 45, safety manager, Warrington

When news of the crisis broke, I was looking forward to a weekend's residential course.

Unfortunately, although I had made provisions to travel to the course, I was disappointed to hear that it had been cancelled due to the inability of some of the speakers to get there. As civil engineers, we should be adept at problem solving, managing resources and delivering projects despite difficult constraints, and on this occasion these skills were obviously not being used!

Neil Harrison, 25, design engineer, Norwich

My job as site engineer became difficult this week as I had no fuel to get myself to site and, personally, I did not find having my wings clipped too amusing.

What does amuse me is that the protesters have succeeded in doing exactly what the Government has been trying to do all along; the numbers of cars on the roads has been reduced and people have been encouraged, although forced is a better word, to use public transport, or even walk.

Angela Webb, 25, site engineer, Nottinghamshire

I did not envisage a 'panic buy' situation at the start, and did not fill my car. I had enough fuel for three journeys to work. The Agent lives close to me and we decided to share transport for the week of the crisis.

Fortunately we had a delivery on site before the blockade began, and the contractor only ran plant when it was required. We are using a fleet of four Volvos, Dozer and two excavators on an earthworks/ capping contract, which is highly weather dependant; every opportunity to work a seven day week is taken. A decision was made that there would be no weekend work to ensure enough fuel was available for the plant to continue without interruption until the next delivery arrived. I think that fuel duty is excessively high; the Government's intention that high fuel costs will/ should/would decrease the volume of traffic (for environmental reasons) cannot work until an extensive system of public transport is redeveloped in suburban and rural areas.

Daniel Hooper, 38, resident engineer (freelance), Rhondda

The action by the farmers and hauliers was completely unjustified and counter productive. These industries are undergoing major restructuring. The problems they face have little to do with the cost of fuel, so taking out their collective frustrations on the British public in this Gallic manner was quite wrong and anti-democratic. If organised by trade unions rather than business interests, these blockages would have been illegal.

Of course everybody would like to pay less for petrol, but any cut in fuel taxes would have to be met by other rises in taxation or cuts in public services. The Government must not give in to pressures to abandon its environmental policies.

Brian Hanson, 47, technical director, south east

As I generally cycle to work, the fuel crisis had no adverse effect on my transport plans - in fact quite the opposite; with noticeably less traffic on the roads, the journey became a safer and altogether more pleasant experience.

Simon Lawrence, 27, civil engineer, Cardiff

I am in the enviable position of being able to walk to work, therefore my daily commuting was not affected. A few colleagues did have to make alternative arrangements such as working from home, lodging locally with friends and some site staff worked from the local office. My one site visit during the crisis was to a village with a petrol station which not only had supplies but was strangely unpolluted by members of the general public panic buying.

Robert Pike, 37, engineer, Exeter

The 'crisis' in reality only slightly affected me. The run in to work was quicker, drivers were more courteous and as a cyclist the empty roads were a real pleasure.

I work for a waste management company with a large fleet of lorries and there was a risk that some of our more remote civic amenity sites in the south west would have to close. This did not actually occur for two reasons, first we had just about enough fuel stores to last and secondly the general public saved their own fuel so the volumes of waste to our sites was greatly reduced (therefore less haulage required).

David Hooper, 38, principal engineer, Somerset

My employer was quick to address the situation, issuing guidelines on car-sharing and company policy on working from home.

Stewart Darkin, 27, engineer, Abingdon

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