Chaos on busy motorway as furious driver drags climate change protesters off M25
Climate protesters sparked long delays on the M25 after blocking off the motorway during the morning rush hour, with some drivers clashing with activists. There are reports of protests at junctions 20 for Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, 14 for Heathrow terminal five, three for Swanley in Kent and six for Godstone, Surrey, according to the BBC. Organisers Insulate Britain say the group staged coordinated protests against what they say is the Government’s failure to insulate homes to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.
Around 20 protesters sat in the middle of the road in Kings Langley and caused tailbacks up to the motorway as violence reportedly took place. One driver tried dragging a protester from the road so they could continue their journey, video from the scene posted by LBC shows. Were you caught up in the protests?
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Protesters are blocking vehicles (Jam Press)
Essex and Surrey Police said they have arrested a number of people in relation to the protests. A spokesman for Surrey Police tweeted: “A number of people have been arrested following protests at J6 +14 M25 8am today. Protesters from Insulate Britain part of a coordinated protest also affected other m/way junctions.
Diversions set up+working hard to reopen m/way but please plan journeys accordingly this morning.” Essex Police said they have arrested 11 people in total. A spokesman for the force said: “We received a call shortly before 8.15am today (Monday 13 September) reporting a number of people were blocking the road near to Junction 31 for Lakeside.
A number of people have been arrested (Peter Manning/LNP)
Officers attended and worked to resolve the situation quickly and safely and this included shutting the road.
Eleven people were subsequently arrested on suspicion of highways obstruction and they are currently in custody. Chief Inspector Paul Austin said: “This incident caused significant disruption and our officers worked to resolve it as quickly and safely as possible. I want to thank the drivers affected for their patience and understanding.”
Insulate Britain is a group aiming to get the Government to make significant legislative change to start lowering emissions. It said in a statement that the protests on Monday are “just the start.” The statement said: “During rush hour today, motorway traffic on the M25 was brought to a standstill by campaigners from Insulate Britain, a new group demanding that the Government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes.
“Insulate Britain says today’s disruption is just the start. Actions will continue until the Government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes, some of the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.” On their website, the group says it demands the Government promise to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025 and to promise to produce within four months a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit, with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030 as part of a transition to full de-carbonisation of all parts of society and the economy.
Protestors block off the M25 (Jam Press)
Spokesman for Insulate Britain, Nathaniel Squire, 25, said: “Insulating Britain’s homes is a simple step to take to de-carbonise Britain.
Not only is it a necessary step towards achieving the government’s net zero targets but it also helps millions of vulnerable people in Britain. “Working as a healthcare professional I know that many who struggle due to fuel poverty will only increase as the planet continues to warm unless we do something now. The Insulate Britain campaign is holding the government to account regarding their net zero targets.”
One supporter, Liam Norton, a 36-year-old electrician from London, said he is “shocked at the lack of significant action from our Government”.
He went on: “It’s a no brainer. Insulating Britain will reduce emissions, provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and stop our elderly dying in cold homes each winter. So stop messing about, Boris, and get on with the job.
“As soon as a statement is made that we can trust and is meaningful, we will get off the roads.” Another activist, Zoe Cohen, 51, from Warrington, Cheshire, said: “Boris needs to stop making things worse – with all their road building, airport expansion, HS2 white elephant and new oil fields – and get on with the obvious stuff like insulating the 29 million homes that need to come off fossil fuels. “We can’t get to net zero if they don’t take responsibility for this.
Only the Government can make this happen.”
Insulate Britain has released a statement (Peter Manning/LNP)
AA president Edmund King said: “This action is not only incredibly dangerous in potentially putting lives at risk but it also backfires in environmental terms by causing more delays and more vehicle emissions. “These are some of the busiest sections of the M25 where tens of thousands of drivers will have been affected and has a negative knock-on effect on economic activity.” National Highways head of service delivery for the South East Sean Martell said: “We work hard with police and other partners to limit the effects of protests on the strategic road network.
“We will do all we can to keep drivers up to date and on the move.”
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