Highlands & Islands

Protest at meeting on Western Isles fuel prices

Petrol pump
Image caption Prices at some pumps rose following news of a discount scheme

A protest was staged ahead of a meeting called to discuss the cost of fuel on the Western Isles.

Last month, petrol and diesel prices went up at some garages on the islands after the European Commission approved a UK motor fuel duty discount scheme.

Sam Chambers, head of supply company GB Oils, has met with the islands' MP, MSP and councillors in Stornoway.

About 30 people staged a demonstration calling for prices to be reduced as Mr Chambers arrived for the talks.

Following the meeting, SNP MP Angus MacNeil said greater transparency was needed to make it clear why prices had increased.

He added: "Today was the first step in a very lengthy process, and an issue that will remain in the public domain."

In September, plans for the discount for remote island communities were approved by the European Commission (EC).

European finance ministers have to agree it before it can finally go ahead.

The UK government scheme covers the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the islands in the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly.

The 5p per litre tax discount will apply to fuel consumed on the islands.

Government sources at the time said it could take a number of months for the scheme to be implemented.

The EC said rates of taxation on petrol and diesel could be reduced as proposed by UK ministers.

At the time, fuel on the affected islands was on average 10p more per litre than in other parts of the UK.

UK ministers are not allowed to cut fuel duty without getting permission from Brussels first.

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