Nightmare on the M25: Unrepentant eco-activists cause rush hour chaos by blocking motorway for the second day

8 November 2022, 07:36 | Updated: 8 November 2022, 15:04

Just Stop Oil have climbed M25 gantries in at least seven locations
Just Stop Oil have climbed M25 gantries in at least seven locations. Picture: Just Stop Oil

By Daisy Stephens

Just Stop Oil climbed overhead gantries in at least seven locations on the M25, bringing the motorway to a grinding half for the second day running.

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The motorway was closed between junctions 8-9, 10-11, 14-16, 20-21 at the M1 junction, and at junctions 26-27, although the protesters were removed from J8, 11 and 12 just before 10.30am.

A total of 16 people were arrested on Tuesday.

Read more: 'You'll hate me' teary activist tells motorists as eco zealots grind M25 to a halt

Read more: Climate change activists vow to cause chaos during rush-hour on the M25 again after 35 people were arrested

Protester Jane, 56, who is visually impaired and afraid of heights, said she was taking part because "we are on the blink of climate catastrophe".

"I'm terrified," she said in a teary video recorded on top of a gantry between junctions 10 and 11.

"So why am I doing this?

"I'm doing this because I'm more terrified if we don't stop new oil and gas.

"We are on the brink of climate catastrophe... and I can't stand by and let it happen."

Addressing the Prime Minister directly, she went on: "We will stop the disruption, Mr Sunak, when you say you are going to stop new oil and gas licences."

Just Stop Oil protester makes passionate plea as she blocks off M25

All the surrounding routes are blocked up as a result of drivers trying to avoid the motorway.

National Highways said there are currently delays of 60 minutes, with congestion for five miles.

Surrey Police said it 'strongly reminded' people not to ignore the red crosses marking road closures, saying they were for "the safety of all road users including officers and members of the public who may be in the carriageways".

Protesters scaled the gantries above the motorway
Protesters scaled the gantries above the motorway. Picture: Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil protest on M25 for second straight day

A protester climbs a gantry at junction 27
A protester climbs a gantry at junction 27. Picture: John Fryer

LBC caller Becky, a trainee teacher, said it had taken her two and a half hours to do a 30-minute journey.

"I joined the M25 at junction 11 at 7.30am and I am just at junction 12 - I can see the sign for junction 12 for the M3 now," she told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast at 9.45am.

"There are protesters on the M3 [junction] now as well.

"We are at complete standstill again... I'm a trainee teacher, I'm trying to get to university in London coming from Woking, and it's taken me two and a half hours now to do a 30-minute journey."

She said she was "completely stunned".

"I totally get the cause," she said.

"But how are they doing anything for the environment when they're holding up one of the UK's busiest motorways?"

There are tailbacks of up to five miles
There are tailbacks of up to five miles. Picture: Just Stop Oil

Another caller, Alex, who was stuck in traffic just before junction 21, said the police were not doing anything.

"I'm about 100 metres from the bridge where the protester is standing," he told Nick.

"[Police] are taking no action.

"It does have one police officer on a motorbike standing nearby him, and another patrol about another 100 metres back."

He said he had been stuck in traffic for around 20 minutes.

A statement from Just Stop Oil said they would not stop their protests, saying: "This is not a one day event, expect us every day and anywhere."

Long tailbacks at junction 21
Long tailbacks at junction 21. Picture: LBC

Yesterday, a group of protesters from Just Stop Oil climbed to the overhead gantries on England's busiest motorway, causing blockages in at least five locations.

It came despite police efforts overnight on Sunday to arrest the 'mastermind' behind the plans and put an end to the disruption.

Eight people were charged on Tuesday morning with conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

In an emotional video, one 24-year-old protester, named Louise teared up as she told the camera: "I'm here because I don't have a future.

"And you might hate me for doing this, and you're entitled to hate me, but I wish you would direct all that anger and hatred at our government.

"They are betraying young people like me."

She went on: "How many more people have to say 'we don't have a liveable future if you continue licensing oil and gas' for you to listen?

"Why does it take young people like me, up on a f*****g gantry on the M25, for you to listen?"

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that by the end of the day 35 people had been arrested.

Just Stop Oil protester makes emotional plea as she blocks off gantry on the M25 with group

But despite the mass arrests and police intervention, the group issued another warning to commuters that there will be 'severe delays' to journeys around the M25 from 7am this morning, urging the National Highways to lower the speed limit to 30mph across the network for 'public safety'.

In a letter, the group asked the government: "What did you expect?" and accused them of 'mass murder'.

The group said yesterday: "We ask everyone who is planning to use the M25, or associated roads, from 7am tomorrow to be prepared for closures and severe delays to their journeys or to make alternative plans.

"Once again we urge the National Highways to implement a 30mph speed limit across the entire M25 road network in line with their responsibility to keep the public safe.

"To the government we say yet again, what did you expect?

Protesters climbed overhead gantries on the M25 on Monday
Protesters climbed overhead gantries on the M25 on Monday. Picture: Surrey Police

"Under British law we have the legal right, and a moral duty, to disrupt to prevent this great harm – the right of necessity.

"The government’s policy to allow new North Sea Oil and gas results, as the United Nations has pointed out, in there being 'no credible path' to remaining at or below 1.5C of heating.

"This will result in the collapse of ordered civil society, the loss of our rights and freedoms and the death of countless millions of people. We will not stand by and allow this mass murder to happen."