Eco mob brings chaos to M25 as cars crash and drivers tell LBC 'we’ll lose our jobs'

15 September 2021, 09:13 | Updated: 17 September 2021, 18:02

- Same eco protesters who blocked motorway on Monday target M25 again

- They blocked five locations today, sparking chaos for tens of thousands of motorists in rush hour

- Air ambulance scrambled to multi-vehicle pile-up three miles from one of the protest sites

- Police make 71 arrests but face criticism after being filmed offering to help protesters

By Asher McShane

Climate change protesters sparked the fury of motorists again this morning, causing major traffic disruption when they blocked the M25 for the second time in a week.

Eighteen protesters belonging to 'Insulate Britain' halted traffic near Junction 23 at South Mimms in their latest protest which began at 8am today.

Another group shut down the main carriageway of the M25 anti-clockwise in Surrey between junction 9 at Leatherhead and junction 8 at Reigate. A four-car crash happened at around 9am only a few miles from the site of the protest.

A third group blocked junction 1b near the Dartford crossing. Demos were also taking place at Junction 25 on the M25, the A10 in Hertfordshire and Junction 10 of the A3 in Surrey.

READ MORE: Furious cafe owner refuses to take cash from whip round organised by M25 eco protesters

Police said they had arrested 71 climate change protestors as of 12:52pm - 32 by Surrey Police working with the Metropolitan Police, 18 by Hertfordshire Police and 21 by Kent Police.

Hertfordshire Police Superintendent Adam Willmot said: "Our officers were on the scene within minutes of us being alerted to the protest, and attempted to engage with the group, working to balance the rights of people to protest with the rights of those affected by their presence.

"However, protestors ignored repeated requests from officers to move to a safer and less disruptive location, and alleged that they had glued themselves to the Tarmac, making it clear that their aim was to cause as much disruption as possible."

The group said it had sent 89 protesters to various sites along the motorway this morning. Around 9.30am the group had blocked traffic in five locations.

Emergency services later reported a multiple vehicle crash near the site of the protest. National Highways said the air ambulance had been deployed to the scene.

It was "too early in the investigation" to know if the crash was linked to the protests, Surrey Police said.

It was reported that a woman was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.

National Highways said in a statement: "A secondary incident has occurred where emergency services including helimed are in attendance between J10 and J9. This is a multiple vehicle collision."

Surrey Police said in a statement: “We are also dealing with a road traffic collision at Junction 9 of the M25 involving four vehicles. Police, fire service and ambulances are currently on the scene.”

Protesters held aloft signs saying 'sorry for the disruption' as they faced a barrage of insults from motorists stuck in the queue during rush hour.

Protesters shared this image of them blocking the main carriageway of the M25
Protesters shared this image of them blocking the main carriageway of the M25. Picture: Insulate Britain

Police attended the scene at South Mimms shortly after 8am this morning as the route on to the country's busiest motorway quickly began to clog up.

One driver stuck at the scene told LBC today: "They are working against themselves." Other motorists screamed abuse telling the group “we’ll lose our jobs."

Superintendent Willmot said: "Policing protests can be challenging and complex, and as such we have a dedicated command team managing the situation.

"We also have specialist resources working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, with minimum disruption to the public and local businesses. Officers are highly trained, and operations follow clear, national standards.

He added: "We would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding."

Insulate Britain want the government to ensure all social housing in Britain is properly insulated by 2025 to help fight climate change.

The group made efforts to justify their actions with this statement: "This week scores of people have blocked motorways. The people in cars are angry, they are outraged, they are disgusted.

"Rightly. What a thing to do. What stupidity. What idiots. So why are we doing it?

"Why is an 82 year old stepping out onto the road, an elderly man with a severe heart condition sitting in front of traffic, alongside mothers with children to care for, builders and electricians who just want to get on with their jobs, students with their whole lives ahead of them?

"Why? Because we are angry, because we are outraged, because we feel disgust beyond words.

"Because we will not stand by and see our families suffer, their livelihoods destroyed and our country betrayed. Never. Never.

"For thirty years our politicians have done so very little and now we risk losing all that we love. The world is burning and burning, each year worse than the last."

Earlier this week there were furious clashes between the protesters and drivers after they carried out a similar protest, blocking the motorway and sparking huge tailbacks. 92 people were arrested.

A driver remonstrates with protesters at the junction this morning
A driver remonstrates with protesters at the junction this morning. Picture: LBC

Many of the protesters taking part in today's disruption were arrested and held by police for up to 10 hours after Monday's protest, which was criticised as being "extraordinarily dangerous."

Around 18 protesters blocked traffic near the M25 today
Around 18 protesters blocked traffic near the M25 today. Picture: LBC

LBC watched the angry scenes unfold on Monday with some drivers leaving their cars before attempting to drag protesters off roads and others mounting grass verges to avoid delays.

Tens of thousands of drivers were held up by the group when they caused long delays in Kent, Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire and around Heathrow Airport.

Chief Inspector Paul Austin said on Monday: "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."

Police forces across London and the South East dealt with demonstrations in their areas, with officers making arrests at five locations.

This story is being updated