'We need insulating from you': Furious drivers tackle eco mob as they block Dover port

24 September 2021, 09:42 | Updated: 25 September 2021, 01:38

Insulate Britain protesters have blocked the main road into Dover ferry port
Insulate Britain protesters have blocked the main road into Dover ferry port. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Eco protesters blocked roads at the Port of Dover ferry terminal after being banned from campaigning on the M25.

About 30 Insulate Britain activists arrived at the eastern docks on Friday morning, where ferries carrying holidaymakers cross the Channel for Europe.

Some of the activists sat down at the entrance to the terminal, where lorries have been halted, and glued their hands to the road after starting their demonstration at 8.30am.

Police began making arrests after 9.45am, and cleared the exit route at 10am. Officers made 39 arrests in total on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and obstructing a highway.

Following the incident, a second injunction was granted to National Highways, preventing protesters from occupying the A20 and strategic roads linked to the Port of Dover again.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps labelled the protesters' actions as "unacceptable".

Read more: Eco mob vow more mayhem on the M25 hours after Priti threatened to lock them up

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government would "not tolerate the recklessness" of those involved in the protests.

"The British public are rightly furious that the behaviours of a selfish minority have been putting lives at risk and causing untold disruption on our roads and now at Dover," she said.

"We will not tolerate the recklessness of these few activists and the police continue to have our full support in cracking down on their dangerous behaviour.

"The public and the police want officers back serving their communities and cutting crime, not dealing with people happy to put the safety and needs of others at risk."

Read more: 'Don't lecture me!' Nick Ferrari tears a strip off M25 eco mob protester

All protesters on the ground were removed, including two who had glued themselves down to the top of a tanker into the early afternoon.

The two protesters - named Josh and Stephanie - travelled down from Manchester to attend the demonstration on Friday.

27-year-old Stephanie said: "We do not want to be here.

"I want to be home with my family spending time with them but if we don't do this they aren't going to have a future.

"The Government are not doing enough. On the current trajectory we are heading for chaos."

Angry motorists clashed with the activists who sat in front of lorries.

One woman said she was being stopped from getting to her granddaughter, while a man shouted: "We need insulating from you!"

Another said to the activists: "Do you realise that you're actually losing the cause because I would've supported you but I've got children that are supposed to be going to school.

"Education is far more important than this right now, right this second, you're actually losing respect. What are you teaching these children to do? Sitting in the middle of the road, at your age? Come on, get up, move on, you're stopping businesses.

"You've got no respect from me whatsoever – none."

A protester told LBC that demonstrating in Westminster wouldn't work as the police would move them on.

She said they were causing disruption to draw attention to what she called the Government's "inaction". The group wants all of Britain's homes to be insulated, citing fuel poverty and environment concerns.

"True, it hasn't worked up til now but how long does it take for the Government to make a meaningful statement?" she told LBC.

"And we will continue - all the Government has to do is make a statement to accept this programme which we've put forward is a workable programme."

Two protesters climbed on top of a tanker which had been ground to a stop by the activists.

One held a sign which read: "Arrested four times because I am in mourning for life on earth."

Insulate Britain drew heavy criticism for blocking the busy M25, which caused tailbacks, and has been branded "selfish" and "dangerous".

The group has now turned its focus to the Port of Dover - the UK's main gateway for trade from the EU and ferries to the continent - at a time when fears grow over supply and shortages.

They promised to keep campaigning after an injunction stopped activists from blocking traffic on the M25.

Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, said the port has "implemented its tried and tested resilience plans in order to deal with the impact of the protest".

He added: "The port has consistently shown its ability to deal with such challenges and today's targeted activity shows once again the importance and symbolism of Dover to the nation as a critical trade and tourism artery on which the UK continues to rely.

"We are working with our customers and the police authorities in managing the situation and apologise to our community for any disruption being caused by a situation not of our making."

Police had to haul the demonstrators off the motorway before ministers were granted a court order preventing the activism from continuing on the route.

"The injunction changes nothing," the activists said outside the Home Office after the injunction was made.

The ban could put activists in contempt of court were they to return to the M25 to protest, facing imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

At least 270 arrests have been made over recent days, according to the Government, which also claimed the disruption cost drivers more than £500,000 – a figure that does not take into account the impact it had on businesses or people who missed public transport connections.