Petrol shortages hit Brittany as ‘yellow vests’ block fuel depots

The ongoing yellow vest protests have seen petrol stations in parts of Brittany suffering fuel shortages, leading to restrictions being imposed on the amount motorists are allowed to buy.

Petrol shortages hit Brittany as 'yellow vests' block fuel depots
Illustration photo: AFP
Many petrol stations in the Breton departments of Finistère and Morbihan are either completely out of fuel or are running low as a result of 'yellow vests' blocking oil depots in the port towns of Lorient and Brest. 
As a result, the head of the Finistère department Pascal Lelarge has announced that strict limits on the amount of fuel that can be sold to motorists have been imposed. 
From Monday December 3rd, restrictions have been introduced “to ensure access to fuel for the greatest number of people and to make sure that emergency services can still operate,” Lelarge said.   

Photo: AFP

That means that the maximum amount of fuel sold per day and per vehicle is limited to €30 for light vehicles which weigh less than 3.5 tons and €200 for trucks.
The local authorities have also asked people to avoid filling their cars up unless absolutely necessary.
The Lorient oil depot has been blocked since November 27th by 'yellow vests' as well as staff from independent building and public works companies who are protesting the ban on the use of non-road diesel set to be introduced on January 1st. 
In the port city of Brest employees of independent building companies, wearing orange vests to differentiate themselves from the 'yellow vest' protesters, also blocked the oil depot since Wednesday using trucks and construction cranes. 
As a result not one truck has entered or left the depot since Friday.  
Meanwhile in the town of Saint-Nazaire in the Loire-Atlantique department next to Brittany the 'yellow vests' had planned to block the oil depot at Donges from 7 am on Monday which would further cut fuel supplies to Brittany. 
Unsurprisingly the situation has left many motorists in the region frustrated, with drivers complaining that they could not refuel on Sunday thus leaving them unable to travel to work on Monday. 
“I do not know at all when we will be able to restock,” an employee of a Total service station in Finistère told the French press on Sunday. “People have been filling their tanks over fears of a shortage.”
“Usually, we are supplied every two days but we have had nothing since Thursday,” he added. 
The interactive map below shows more up to date information on where petrol stations are running low. The information included is based on reports from motorists.

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French town of Nantes votes for referendum on exiting Pays-de-la-Loire region

The French city of Nantes is to hold a referendum on exiting the Pays-de-la-Loire region and becoming part of Brittany instead.

French town of Nantes votes for referendum on exiting Pays-de-la-Loire region
Photo: AFP

On Friday the town council of Nantes voted in favour of requesting the French government organise a referendum so local people can have their say about whether they wish to remain in the Pays-de-la-Loire region or become part of Brittany – a region that many say the town has more historic and cultural connections to.

The vote on Friday was carried by 56 votes and concerns whether the département of Loire-Atlantique – which contains Nantes – should move regions.

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The vote follows a petition in 2018 which gathered 105,000 signatures.

Nantes mayor Johanna Rolland said: “This strong citizen mobilisation cannot be ignored. It reflects the aspiration of our fellow citizens to be consulted to a greater extent, in a context of essential revitalisation of our democracy.”

The desire of people in the Loire-Atlantique to become Breton isn't new.
The départment was part of Brittany until World War II, when it was separated and made part of the neighbouring region by the Vichy government. That region eventually became the Pays-de-la-Loire in 1955.
The issue has been simmering since then and pro-Breton voices have become louder in recent years as they hope to take advantage of a law that allows départments to chose which region they belong to via a referendum.
The town, which is the historic seat of the Dukes of Brittany, also declared its intention to  “set up a permanent pluralist body to engage in a genuine consultation with the State on the organisation of this referendum, organise an in-depth debate on the issues and consequences of a redistribution in order to feed the citizen debate, and formulate proposals to strengthen cooperation between Nantes and the other Breton territories”. 
However the referendum will have to be approved by both the national government and the regional authorities.

France's regions were reorganised in 2016 and several were merged to create the current 13 regions of mainland France.

Brittany currently covers four départements – Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d'Armor, Finistère and Morbihan – while Pays-de-la-Loire covers Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe and Vendée. Nantes is currently the largest town in the region.