Insulate Britain protestors who previously blocked roads across Kent told the High Court, National Highways should reduce motorway speed limits to as low as 10mph when protestors are on a carriageway.
Dr Diana Warner, a member of Extinction Rebellion offshoot, demanded that the roads agency work with protesters to “ensure safety for everyone” amid its efforts to block traffic on major roads.
Her comments came during a High Court hearing on Tuesday (October 19) where a judge extended an injunction granted to Transport for London (TfL) against Insulate Britain.
Read more: M25 Dartford Crossing traffic: Furious drivers drag away Insulate Britain protesters blocking road
London’s transport network was granted a civil banning order earlier this month, aimed at preventing protesters from obstructing traffic on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
Members of Insulate Britain have also been made subject to three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.
Back in September, the activists sat down on roads in and out of the cross-Channel ferry port creating long queues for drivers.
A second group were also in position on Snargate Street at the junction with the A20, while a third group was at the A20 junction with Aycliffe.
On September 29, Insulate Britain protesters returned to the M25 twice in one day. Police made 11 arrests after protesters glued their hands to the Swanley Interchange road at junction three only for the activists to return and block the road later in the day.
In the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Lavender extended the TfL injunction and granted permission for the list of named individuals it covers to be amended.
The judge said the injunction was extended either until a trial is held in the case or a further court order or April 8 next year.
“This doesn’t rule out the possibility that it could be extended again by a judge on a further occasion,” he added.
Last week, the court heard that National Highways may ask for a default or summary judgment – legal steps which would mean the case against the protesters is resolved without a trial.
Mr Justice Lavender also granted a request by TfL’s barrister, Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC, for further disclosure of information by the Metropolitan Police relating to arrests.
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During Tuesday’s hearing, Insulate Britain members were given the chance to address the court.
Dr Warner, a retired GP, told the court that Insulate Britain is “intent on keeping the public safe” and “committed to non-violence”.
The 62-year-old added that there is a “wide gulf” between her understanding of “what constitutes safety” and National Highways’ stance.
Dr Warner said National Highways should “slow the traffic to 20 miles per hour or 10 miles per hour when there are people are on the motorway”, warning that she expects to continue Insulate Britain’s campaign for “civil resistance” until “a meaningful statement from the Government that we can trust”.
“I’m willing to give up my freedom and my house. These are all the material things I have,” she said, adding that there is “everything to lose if we destroy the Earth that sustains us”.
Meanwhile, Essex Police said it has “identified those believed to be involved” after a video was released showing a woman drive into two activists blocking a road.
The footage shows an angry woman shouting “my son needs to get to school and I need to get to work so get out of the way”, before she gets back into her car and repeatedly drives it into the protesters.
The incident took place near Junction 31 of the M25 in Thurrock on October 13. Essex Police said its “inquiries are ongoing”.
Last month, climate protesters wrote to National Highways calling for the speed limit to be reduced on the M25 ahead of a wave of blockades on the motorway.
Breaching a court order can result in a committal for contempt of court, which, if proved, may be punished with up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Justice Lavender emphasised to those in court which injunctions are in place and encouraged people who find themselves served with a committal application to seek legal advice.
At a High Court hearing held last week, the same judge extended the three National Highways injunctions. According to court documents from the earlier hearing, 112 people have been served with court orders related to the Insulate Britain protests.
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