Fair Fuel UK
Fair Fuel UK is an industry-funded lobby group that campaigns against charges and taxes on UK motorists. Its website claims it has “fought off £100bn in FUEL TAX hikes since 2011” and that “pump prices would be 16 to 20 pence more if it was not for the Fair Fuel UK Campaign”.
Its public figurehead, TV personality Quentin Willson, has published blogs and articles questioning the extent of the impact of passenger vehicles on the UK’s illegal levels of air pollution. Wilson co-manages the campaign with PR advisor, Howard Cox.
Fair Fuel UK is funded by two industry associations: the Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association. Its previous funders have included the RAC, the Association of Pallet Networks and UKLPG, among others.
The group’s main advocate in the UK parliament is the Conservative MP Robert Halfon, a former deputy chairman of the Tory party and former minister for Apprenticeships and Skills. Halfon has accepted political donations from key Brexit backers and funders of climate science denial in the UK.
Stance on Air Pollution
“We have to base any legislation only on facts rather than innuendo, class division or Green evangelism …
“At FairFuelUK we worry that targeting passenger car drivers, (a relatively narrow band of polluters at 11% of NOx) won’t make a significant difference to the air Londoners’ breathe …
“And that’s why FairFuelUK is calling for an Air Quality Working Party, free from vested interests, to scientifically determine where the greatest levels of particulate and nitrogen dioxide pollutants really come from and how to reduce them in the short to medium term.”
Quentin Willson, in an Op-Ed in the Evening Standard, June 2017
Fair Fuel UK is not a registered company or charity, so does not have its own accounts.
On its website, Fair Fuel UK acknowledges funding from the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association, and the Association of Pallet Networks. It does not disclose how much it has received from these organisations.
The Freight Transport Association makes no reference to any Fair Fuel UK donation in its annual accounts. The Road Haulage Association discloses that it holds accounts for Special Interest Groups of £311k in 2016, but does not specify if this includes Fair Fuel UK. The Association of Pallet Networks has a dedicated Fair Fuel UK section on its website, which says it supports Fair Fuel for its 2015 to 2020 goals. It does not disclose how much it has contributed to Fair Fuel UK.
The campaign also fundraises through individual donations and sales of a calendar and bumper stickers. It does not disclose how much it raises through such contributions.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon is Fair Fuel UK’s main advocate in parliament. In 2011, he forced a debate on fuel duty by co-sponsoring a petition with the Fair Fuel UK campaign.
Halfon has received donations from Edward Atkin, a trustee and funder of the climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Atkin gave Halfon sponsorship of an undisclosed amount in 2011, £5,000 in May 2015, £5,000 in September 2016.
Halfon supported the Remain campaign in the UK’s referendum on leaving the EU, later saying his “heart said leave, head said stay” on Brexit. However, Halfon has received donations from key Brexit donor Peter Cruddas. Cruddas gave Halfon donations of £5,000 in May 2015, £7,000 in January 2015.
Halfon also received a donation of £10,000 from JCB Research – a wing of construction equipment manufacturing giant, JCB – in October 2015.
David Meller, a Conservative Party donor who recently came to infamy through his association with the disgraced President’s club, also donated £11,473 to Halfon between 2012 and 2017.
November 2, 2020
Fair Fuel UK’s Chairman Howard Cox told The Daily Express that new charges designed to cut congestion and air pollution in London could “hit low income motorists”, and that “motorists have been betrayed for the cash and flawed green ideologies”.
Wilson published a blog post in which he queries the veracity of a much-quoted figure: that air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK annually.
Wilson published an Op-Ed in the Evening Standard on behalf of the Fair Fuel UK campaign in which he questions passenger vehicles’ contribution to London’s illegal levels of air pollution.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon secures a parliament debate on a proposed fuel duty rise after co-sponsoring a petition with Fair Fuel UK. MPs ultimately voted against the fuel duty rise.