Matt Frei 10am - 1pm
Eco protesters blockade M25 yet again, defying threats of jail time
30 September 2021, 08:13 | Updated: 30 September 2021, 10:09
Eco-protesters block access to the M25
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.
Nine people have been arrested on suspicion of obstruction of highway.— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) September 30, 2021
We are working to get the road re-opened and traffic flowing again as soon as possible. https://t.co/VSbYaAJXTw
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.
Police unglue eco-activists blocking access to the M25
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."
Reckless protesters who repeatedly put lives in danger on the M25 have already had knocks on their doors.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 29, 2021
We are serving papers and those who continue these idiotic, dangerous and counter-productive demonstrations will be caught and face unlimited fines or prison.
Police try and fail to drag away eco-protesters
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.
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."
Police move eco-protesters to the side of the road
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.