Eco protesters blockade M25 yet again, defying threats of jail time

30 September 2021, 08:13 | Updated: 30 September 2021, 10:09

By Joe Cook

The eco protest group that has brought misery to motorists on the M25 in recent days resumed their disruptive campaign today with their ninth protest, bringing traffic grinding to a halt.

Insulate Britain activists blocked junction 30 of the M25 near Thurrock, Essex, causing huge delays to motorists in rush hour.

Furious drivers - including multiple HGV drivers - beeped their horns as just nine protesters brought the motorway to a standstill around 8am, gluing their hands to the tarmac.

Officers were on the scene within a few minutes, arresting three people and allowing one lane of traffic to get moving one by one.

However, it took over an hour a half for the others to be unstuck, carried away and arrested.

Explained: Who are Insulate Britain and what are they protesting?

There were long queues down the M25 after protesters blocked the slip road in Essex.
There were long queues down the M25 after protesters blocked the slip road in Essex. Picture: Highways England

It follows multiple protests on Wednesday, slammed as "idiotic" by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

In the morning they blocked a key roundabout where the M25, A20 and M20 all meet, breaking last week’s High Court injunction for the second time, despite the threat of unlimited fines and lengthy prison sentences. Then in the afternoon they returned and blocked junction 3 at Swanley.

Read more: 53 Insulate Britain eco-protesters released by police as govt slams ‘guerrilla tactics’

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

On Wednesday, Mr Shapps tweeted: "Reckless protesters who repeatedly put lives in danger on the M25 have already had knocks on their doors.

"We are serving papers and those who continue these idiotic, dangerous and counter-productive demonstrations will be caught and face unlimited fines or prison."

But despite facing an injunction, which could mean protesters blocking the M25 face prosecution and jail time for contempt of court, the eco activists have taunted the government.

On Tuesday the group tweeted: "INJUNCTION? WHAT INJUNCTION? 115 people have been involved in Insulate Britain’s protests over the last 2 weeks. The arrest tally is now 438.

“You can throw as many injunctions at us as you like, but we are going nowhere."

This week it was also revealed that many of those arrested by Kent Police for blocking the M25 have not been prosecuted. Just one out of 95 people arrested by the force have been charged, with the others released under investigation.

Watch: David Lammy: Insulate Britain protests 'totally, totally unacceptable'

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

The eco protesters defied the court injunction to run onto the M25.
The eco protesters defied the court injunction to run onto the M25. Picture: LBC
Furious drivers beeped their horns as just nine protesters brought the road to a standstill, gluing their hands to the floor.
Furious drivers beeped their horns as just nine protesters brought the road to a standstill, gluing their hands to the floor. Picture: LBC

Surrey's police and crime commissioner defended the actions of officers on Wednesday, amidst criticism that they are not doing enough to tackle the disruptive activists.

"It has been very difficult for the police because if they charge the protesters with a relatively minor offence, it is likely to be discontinued," Lisa Townsend said.

"If they try to elevate the charge to a more serious one, they are finding it is not reaching the necessary threshold.

"The public deserves to see a response from all parts of the criminal justice system and it is unfair for the police to be blamed if people do not end up before the courts."

Read more: M25 traffic cameras capture vast queues sparked by Insulate Britain protest

Insulate Britain are demanding the government fully fund and insulate all social housing in the the UK in the next four years, and produce a legally binding plan to fund and retrofit all homes by 2030.