Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
M25 traffic cameras capture vast queues sparked by Insulate Britain protest
13 September 2021, 10:37 | Updated: 13 September 2021, 11:23
These shocking images show thousands of motorists stuck in gridlock this morning after a handful of climate change protesters shut down parts of the M25.
Five junctions on the M25 were affected by co-ordinated climate change demonstrations. Police made at least 15 arrests after activists from the Insulate Britain group blocked a number of major slipways and even the main carriageway itself.
Traffic cameras along the M25 captured thousands of commuters and lorry drivers stuck in total gridlock this morning, facing long delays and unable to reach their destinations.
As of shortly after 9am today, groups of protesters had targeted slip roads at J6, J20, J3, J31 and at Junction 14 at Heathrow.
Near Heathrow, a group of around 15 people walked on to the main carriageway of the UK’s busiest motorway and sat down, bringing traffic to a total standstill.
In heated scenes angry motorists blared their horns at protesters and targeted them with volleys of verbal abuse. LBC witnessed angry drivers trying to manhandle some of the protesters away from the scene.
Surrey Police said a number of protesters had been arrested at demonstrations at junction 6 and junction 14 of the M25.
The force 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."
According to its website, Insulate Britain has been set up to "force the Government to make significant legislative change to start lowering emissions".
Kent Police tweeted: "Motorists attempting to join the M25 from Swanley, at junction 3, may encounter delays due to an obstruction caused by a group of people. Our officers are at the scene and engaging with those involved. Traffic is moving and being diverted to join the M25 at junction 4."
And Surrey Police Roads Policing Unit said: "A number of protesters from Insulate Britain are causing some disturbance around the M25 this morning. We are currently in attendance at Junctions 6 & 14 and diversions are being set up where needed. Please be aware when planning your journeys today and avoid the area if you can."
Furious commuters vented their frustrations online.
One posted: "Is it really worth it?"
Another wrote: "Just what people need on a Monday morning!"
Another pointed out that some motorists stuck in the queue would have to go and get more petrol.
"There are protesters at the end of the A20 which meets the M25 motorway. Now I have to get some more petrol because I have to take a longer route going back down the a A20. I think that makes it counter-productive," he wrote.
Insulate Britain justified their actions, writing online: "Why are we causing disruption to ordinary people? We must get the government’s attention.
"Mass disruption gets the attention of the government and media, not another lobby outside parliament.
"Our actions are a legal and proportional response to our government’s inactivity."