Home Breaking News Motorists clash with Insulate Britain climate activists blocking M25

Motorists clash with Insulate Britain climate activists blocking M25

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Angry motorists tried to pull climate change protesters off the road today after they caused chaos across five different sections of the M25 by blocking junctions, lanes and slip roads during the morning rush hour.

Dozens of demonstrators from Insulate Britain, a new offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, brought major disruption – with one flashpoint taking place near junction 20 at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire as a group sat by traffic lights.

A driver was filmed trying to drag a protester off the road amid tailbacks along the motorway – before around 50 police officers turned up and stood in front of the activists, then arrested them and put them into vans.

National Highways said there was also disruption at junctions three for Swanley in Kent, six for Godstone in Surrey, 14 for London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal Five and 31 for Purfleet in Essex near the Dartford Crossing.  

The AA slammed the co-ordinated action as ‘incredibly dangerous’ and ‘causing more delays and more vehicle emissions’, with tens of thousands of drivers affected as they tried to get to work on the motorway this morning. 

Hertfordshire Police arrested 18 people over the protest at junction 20, which also caused major congestion on the A41, while Essex Police said 12 people were arrested at junction 31 on suspicion of highways obstruction. 

Police stand next to the Insulate Britain protesters at junction 20 of the M25 at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire this morning 

Traffic builds up on the M25 between junctions 11 and 12 after the protest group sat down on the motorway near Heathrow

Traffic builds up on the M25 between junctions 11 and 12 after the protest group sat down on the motorway near Heathrow

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Insulate Britain protesters sit on the M25 today near junction 14 for London Heathrow Airport

Police officers remove a protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

Police officers remove a protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

One protesters holds up a 'sorry to stop you' sign at the M25 in Kings Langley this morning

One protesters holds up a ‘sorry to stop you’ sign at the M25 in Kings Langley this morning

47849123 9984953 image a 169 1631527217092 Queues build up on the M25 this morning due to the Insulate Britain demonstrations

Queues build up on the M25 this morning due to the Insulate Britain demonstrations

AA president Edmund King told MailOnline: ‘This action is not only incredibly dangerous in potentially putting lives at risk but it also backfires in environmental terms by causing more delays and more vehicle emissions.

‘These are some of the busiest sections of the M25 where tens of thousands of drivers will have been affected and has a negative knock-on effect on economic activity.’

XR offshoot Insulate Britain wants zero home heating emissions

Historic England commissioner Ben Derbyshire is among the supporters of Insulate Britain

Historic England commissioner Ben Derbyshire is among the supporters of Insulate Britain

Insulate Britain is an independent campaign launched on August 20 by members of Extinction Rebellion, who want the Government to reduce home heating emissions to zero. 

The organisation has claimed that its demands for the Prime Minister were delivered to Downing Street by hand on August 21, but so far no-one from the Government has responded.

Insulate Britain’s listed mailing address is a Victorian semi-detached house in Streatham, South London, constructed in 1882 and now worth £1.5million.

The group has been holding campaign meetings since June 29, and held gatherings over the weekend in Taunton as well as Bath and Bristol.

A spokesman said: ‘We are demanding the Government and Boris Johnson create hundreds of thousands of jobs, lower our emissions, and save lives.’

The group said that its actions would continue ‘until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29million leaky homes’. It describes itself as ‘a new group demanding that the Government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes’. 

Among their supporters are Ben Derbyshire, who is the former president of the Royal Institute for British Architects and a commissioner for Historic England. 

Insulate Britain is an independent campaign launched on August 20 by members of XR, who want the Government to reduce home heating emissions to zero.

One protester from the organisation told LBC this morning: ‘We are so, so sorry to disrupt people. We want to set the Government a really doable task.’ 

But former chief constable Sir Hugh Orde said: ‘It’s worth reminding ourselves these people tried to stop a live motorway running, that is extraordinarily dangerous. It puts their lives at risk, it puts motorists’ lives at risks and it puts police officers’ lives at risk.’

And motorists vented their fury on social media today, with Bill Templer tweeting Surrey Police to say: ‘Move them! We are stuck on M25.’

Another, Linda Morgan, wrote on Twitter: ‘Blocking the M25 on a Monday morning is madness. Majority of drivers aren’t on there through choice.’

And a third, Kat, added: ‘What about hospital workers getting to work? My husband goes via M25 – should he cancel his morning list?’ 

Supporters of the group include Ben Derbyshire, who is the former president of the Royal Institute for British Architects and a commissioner for Historic England.

He said today: ‘Britain has the leakiest and poorest performing housing in Europe that contributes 20 per cent of our total climate emissions.

‘Instead of fiddling while Rome burns with a series of ill-thought through programmes, reliant on private investment and debt, Government needs to invest in a major programme of deep renovation for energy efficiency with measures to support the supply chain, hitherto endlessly messed around with by half-hearted and inconsistent subsidies.

‘The cost benefits for health and well-being, unemployment, homelessness and delivery of a levelling-up programme (otherwise dependent on long term and grandiose transport projects) will pay back the investment amply.’

Among the protesters involved today was Liam Norton, 36, an electrician from London, who said: ‘Since waking up to the crisis we are all in, due to the catastrophic breakdown in our climate, I have been shocked at the lack of significant action from our government. 

‘They need to face up to reality. It will destroy our economy and the fabric of our society. They are being incredibly reckless. 

‘They are betting the farm on technologies that don’t exist. A stitch in time saves nine which means if we spend money now we’ll stop a catastrophe later down the line. 

‘It’s a no brainer. Insulating Britain will reduce emissions, provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and stop our elderly dying in cold homes each winter. 

Police officers remove a protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

Police officers remove a protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning 

A protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent is put into a police van this morning

A protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent is put into a police van this morning 

The protesters caused chaos by sitting on the road at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire today

The protesters caused chaos by sitting on the road at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire today

Around 50 police officers then headed to the scene and stood in front of the protesters today

Around 50 police officers then headed to the scene and stood in front of the protesters today

Officers took the protesters away and put them into police vans at Kings Langley this morning

Officers took the protesters away and put them into police vans at Kings Langley this morning

Police turned up at the scene in Hertfordshire today after Insulate Britain caused chaos

Police turned up at the scene in Hertfordshire today after Insulate Britain caused chaos

Police arrest a man during the Insulate Britain campaign at junction 20 of the M25 today

Police arrest a man during the Insulate Britain campaign at junction 20 of the M25 today

‘So stop messing about, Boris, and get on with the job. As soon as a statement is made that we can trust and is meaningful we will get off the roads.’ 

Zoe Cohen, 51, a self-employed mother from Warrington, Cheshire, added: ‘It’s now proven beyond all doubt, humans have broken the climate with the emissions from fossil fuels.

‘The world my generation, and my parents’ generation was born into has gone, and it’s never coming back. The world’s politicians need to be honest and accept this. 

‘They need to wake up and do what’s necessary to stop the kids being on an escalator to climate hell. We need real action from our government to reduce emissions in this Parliament – 2050 is far too late.’ 

Police officers speak to a protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

Police officers speak to a protester who stopped traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

Protesters sit down as they stop traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

Protesters sit down as they stop traffic at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent this morning

Protesters from the group cause chaos this morning at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent

Protesters from the group cause chaos this morning at junction three of the M25 at Swanley in Kent

Queues at junction 13 near London Heathrow Airport this morning due to the protests

Queues at junction 13 near London Heathrow Airport this morning due to the protests

An Insulate Britain spokesman said: ‘We are demanding the Government and Boris Johnson create hundreds of thousands of jobs, lower our emissions, and save lives.’ 

The organisation added that its actions would continue ‘until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29million leaky homes’. 

It claimed that its demands for the Prime Minister were delivered to Downing Street by hand on August 21, but so far no-one from the Government has responded.

Insulate Britain’s listed mailing address is a Victorian semi-detached house in Streatham, South London, constructed in 1882 and now worth £1.5million. 

Insulate Britain issued this photograph of the protest at an unidentified location this morning

Insulate Britain issued this photograph of the protest at an unidentified location this morning

Police stand next to a protest at an unidentified location in this image issued by Insulate Britain

Police stand next to a protest at an unidentified location in this image issued by Insulate Britain

Insulate Britain also issued this picture of the protest at an unidentified location this morning

Insulate Britain also issued this picture of the protest at an unidentified location this morning

Police officers stand in a line next to the protesters this morning at an unidentified location

Police officers stand in a line next to the protesters this morning at an unidentified location

The group has been holding campaign meetings since June 29, and held gatherings over the weekend in the Somerset town of Taunton as well as Bath and Bristol. 

It describes itself as ‘a new group demanding that the Government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes’. 

The group has two main demands – one is that ‘the UK government immediately promises to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025’.

And the other is: ‘That the UK government immediately promises to produce within four months a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit , with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030 as part of a just transition to full decarbonisation of all parts of society and the economy.’

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An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We are currently dealing with an incident near junction 20 (Hemel Hempstead) of the M25 involving a small number of protesters.

‘Officers are at the scene. The M25 is currently closed at junction 20 westbound, and as a result there is heavy traffic on the A41. Motorists are advised to avoid the area where possible.’

Chief Inspector Paul Austin added: ‘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.’

Relating to the protest at junction six, a Surrey Police spokesman tweeted today: ‘We’re currently overseeing a protest at junction six M25 reported just before 8am.

‘Number of protesters from Insulate Britain are at the location, slip road closed and diversion being set up. No arrests made at this stage. Please avoid the area.’

Insulate Britain's listed mailing address is this Victorian semi-detached house (centre) in Streatham, South London, constructed in 1882 and now worth £1.5million

Insulate Britain’s listed mailing address is this Victorian semi-detached house (centre) in Streatham, South London, constructed in 1882 and now worth £1.5million

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And Kent Police said: ‘Kent Police was called at 8.10am to a report a group of people were obstructing the road at a roundabout where the B1273, in Swanley, and junction 3 of the M25 meet.

‘Officers are in attendance and are engaging with the individuals involved. A diversion, which will allow drivers to join the motorway at junction 4, is in place.

‘Traffic is moving, but motorists are advised to expect delays and, if possible, use an alternative route.’

The latest wave of XR protests in London which began last month saw 480 people arrested and 81 activists removed after gluing themselves to structures.

** Do you know any of the protesters? Please email: [email protected] ** 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9984953/Motorists-clash-Insulate-Britain-climate-activists-blocking-M25.html