Eco mob returns for half term disruption as first activists face court cases

22 October 2021, 10:04 | Updated: 25 October 2021, 21:38

Insulate Britain protesters have caused misery on the roads in recent weeks.
Insulate Britain protesters have caused misery on the roads in recent weeks. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Insulate Britain is threatening to cause chaos on roads over the half term break, despite possible contempt of court proceedings that could leave protestors facing imprisonment.

National Highways has made nine applications to the High Court for contempt of court against the activists for breaching injunctions by blocking the M25, after the group threatened to return to disrupting roads, causing misery for motorists during half-term.

A spokesperson said: "National Highways is now taking the first group of activists from Insulate Britain to court, for breaching injunctions by blocking the M25. We will continue working with the police to bring those who carried out dangerous and disruptive action to justice.

"Those activists will now receive a court summons and could face imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Timings are now in the hands of the court but we expect hearings will take place as soon as possible."

The court will now have to decide whether the protesters breached the order, and the process will start immediately with hearings taking place as soon as possible, the organisation said.

Eco protesters from Insulate Britain have threatened to return to disrupting roads, causing misery for motorists during half-term.

The group said it will "rise up against tyranny" in response to the Government's Net Zero strategy, which it revealed earlier this week.

The activists had previously said on October 14 they were pausing the disruptive protests for 10 days - until Monday, October 25.

Their break followed weeks of protests on the M25 and the entrance to Dover ferry port, which saw traffic grind to a halt during rush-hour.

Protesters clashed with furious drivers on multiple occasions, including one mum on the school run who drove her 4x4 car into activists blocking a road near the M25.

Read more: Moment enraged mother drives into eco protesters as she tried to take son to school

The woman, who was taking her 11-year-old son to school, stormed out of her car to take on Insulate Britain protesters during their demonstrations last week.

Two members of the group, wearing high-vis jackets, were seen sitting in front of her vehicle as another stood in front of it, holding on to the bonnet.

Confronting members of the group, she said: "Move out the way. I'm not joking, my son needs to get to school and I need to get to work."

"I don't care what the issue is, my son is 11, he needs to get to school today," the furious mother is seen shouting in LBC footage.

"So move out of the way and let me get my son to school!" she says.

Read more: Eco protesters call for 10mph motorway speed limit so they can disrupt roads 'in safety'

Read more: Police make 38 arrests as eco protestors clash with motorists across London

Another angry driver was seen tying an Insulate Britain protester to a pole - with his own banner.

Others have been filmed tearing posters out of hands, dragging protesters off the road and hurling abuse at those blocking their route.

In a statement on Friday, the eco activists said the government's climate strategy "completely fails to meet the challenges we now face" and will be taking further action.

"What we need in this ‘period of consequence’ is a wartime style national effort, a united front of shared sacrifice, not a plan to cross your fingers and hope for the best," Insulate Britain said.

Read more: Angry driver ties up Insulate Britain protester with his own banner

Read more: 'You're the hypocrites!' Iain Dale takes on Insulate Britain protester

They said their campaign of "nonviolent civil resistance" will continue, despite a number of high court injunctions taken out against them to ban the group from protesting on certain roads.

During a High Court hearing this week, where e a judge extended an injunction granted to Transport for London (TfL) against Insulate Britain, the group called for a 10mph speed limit on motorways.

The brazen demand was made so that activists can protest safely and not come to harm while causing disruption on the roads.

The group's retired GP Diana Warner said National Highways should slow traffic to 10 or 20 mph when protesters are on the carriageways.

The full text of her statement has been posted on Insulate Britain’s website. In it, she says: “If National Highways are committed to safety, they will slow the traffic to 20mph, or 10mph, when there are people on the motorway. I am asking that National Highways do this.”

Insulate Britain said it is calling on the UK government to put in place policy and funding for a national home insulation programme starting with all social housing.