There is rush hour chaos in the south east of England today as two separate protests by Just Stop Oil have blocked two major roads in what is the 18th consecutive day of disruption by the eco-mob.
In west London, members of the group have staged a sit-down demonstration on the A4 outside Baron’s Court Underground Station this morning, blocking one of the main roads into the capital during Tuesday’s rush hour.
In scenes that will infuriate motorists, 23 activists walked into the road a 7.30am and sat down with banners on the road near Hammersmith flyover before gluing themselves to the tarmac and using lock-ons to avoid being forcibly removed.
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It comes as the Dartford Bridge remains closed more than 24 hours after two eco-zealots from the group ascended two 275ft masts and dangled over one of the busiest roads in the country.
The A282 over the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links the M25 between Essex and Kent, has been shut by police while they try and coax the pair down, creating huge delays for the second day in a row.
Furious drivers already face delays of around one hour at 6am this morning and there are queues of more than six miles in both directions as Just Stop Oil activists, Morgan Trowland, 39, and Marcus, 33, remain in the air.
The height at which the protesters are currently located has complicated efforts to try and remove the activists, with police saying it will take them time to get them down.
Essex Police said late last night the bridge will stay closed through this morning’s rush hour, with Sean Martell from the National Highways citing ‘safety’ as the primary concern.
MailOnline understands that as of last night no officers had yet been sent up to fetch the eco-zealots down, and the police refused to comment on whether they would.
Furious drivers have blasted the police’s response, saying they were ‘playing into the hands’ of eco-activists by shutting the bridge – with Just Stop Oil claiming the bridge will be shut for ‘at least 24 hours’.
It is the 18th consecutive day of protests by the group, which is calling for an end to new gas and oil projects. In the last week members of the group have blocked multiple roads in the capital, and prompted outrage by throwing soup over a picture of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at the National Gallery.
Members of Just Stop Oil have staged a sit-down protest on the A4 outside Baron’s Court Underground Station today in what is the 18th consecutive day of protest
The eco-mob have glued themselves to the tarmac and used lock ons in a bid to avoid being forcibly removed from the normally busy road
Officers from the Metropolitan Police are at the scene of the protest in the A4, where the demonstrators blocked the road at 7.30am
The Met said 23 Just Stop Oil activists have entered the road and it is ‘in the process of removing and arresting’ them this morning
Video from the scene shows police officers trying to calm members of the public while colleagues remove members of the climate protest group
The protest on the A4 this morning started at 7.30am when Just Stop Oil activists walked onto the road in a bid to block it during rush hour. Among the 23 eco-zealots involved in the demonstration are students, delivery drivers and mothers.
The Metropolitan Police has said it is ‘in the process of removing and arresting’ those protesters sat in the road. Footage shows dozens of officers swarming around the activists as they attempt to remove them from the carriageway.
While many people have made alternate plans those who have to cross the river at the Dartford Crossing this morning for work are still facing long delays.
As of 7am there is already five miles of slow-moving congestion in Kent heading towards the bridge and more than six miles in the opposite direction in Essex.
A seven mile journey from Swanley in Kent to Purfleet in Essex, which should normally take 14 minutes is instead a 45 minute ordeal this morning.
In the other direction a commute from Upminster in east London to Darenth in Kent is taking more than an hour when it normally takes half the time.
Motorists have hit out the protesters, saying they are actually forcing drivers to use more petrol and oil with their actions. Those looking to avoid the chaos at Dartford face a 30-mile round trip to the Blackwall Tunnel in London, which is the only other road crossing the Thames east of central London.
As protesters climbed the 275ft masts on the structure yesterday, activist Morgan Trowland was overcome with emotion as he said he had scaled the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge because he ‘was not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.
He was joined by Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from London, while thousands of motorists were left stuck in seven-mile tailbacks as police closed the crossing that links Essex and Kent across the Thames.
BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, blasted the pair, calling them ‘crazy’ and said the force is doing everything it can to ‘get that road open as soon as possible’.
Yesterday Essex Police said: ‘We expect the bridge to remain closed this evening and into tomorrow morning’s rush hour. We would advise motorists to avoid the area and plan an alternative route if they possibly can.’
Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: ‘We understand how frustrating this situation is for people wanting to use the bridge and go about their business. Let me assure you we are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly and safely.
‘It is a complex situation due to the height the people on the bridge are at.
‘Our colleagues at National Highways, who have responsibility for the bridge, have made an assessment that it is not currently safe to re-open the road.’
He added: ‘We will take action against anyone who puts life in danger or thinks they can selfishly stop others getting to and from work or just going about their daily lives. The impact is far reaching, especially for the local community.
‘I would again like to re-iterate my thanks to the public for their patience and understanding. I assure them that we continue to work with our partners to bring this dangerous and irresponsible disruption to an end.
‘Our priority is to keep people safe and keep Essex moving.’
Furious drivers demanded police reopen the road even if the pair are still up there, declaring that the protesters ‘knew the risks’ and are stopping people getting to work and hospital appointments.
It was the 17th consecutive day of protest by the group, which has also targeted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Westminster by throwing soup at the building’s entrance and demanding a meeting with the Home Secretary.
The environmentalist group has launched demonstrations in London over the last few weeks.
Protesters sprayed orange paint over an Aston Martin garage in the capital and blocked roads on Sunday as they continue to demand an end to new oil and gas projects.
‘Two Just Stop Oil supporters have climbed to the top of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge forcing police to close the bridge to demand that the government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents,’ the group said yesterday.
‘At approximately 5am two climbers ascended the two 84m masts on the north side of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge forcing the police to stop traffic from entering the bridge. It is expected that the bridge will remain shut for at least 24 hours.’
National Highways reported two-hour long queues yesterday, with some motorists saying they had been stuck for as long as three.
There are already long delays on the M25 and A282 between Kent and Essex this morning at the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge remains closed
There is a diversion in place through the Dartford Tunnel, although this has meant traffic coming in the other direction has also been delayed as the amount of traffic each direction can take has halved
There are already queues stretching for miles in either direction of the Dartford Bridge this morning as the protest enters its second day
In a video from the top of the bridge Morgan Trowland (pictured) said he was ‘not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’. The protesters, from Just Stop Oil, have vowed not to come down until the Government stops issuing new gas and oil licences
Just Stop Oil has named the demonstrators as Mr Trowland, bridge design engineer from London, and Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from the capital.
Mr Trowland said: ‘As a professional civil engineer, each year as I renew my registration, I commit to acting within our code of ethics, which requires me to safeguard human life and welfare and the environment.
‘Our government has enacted suicidal laws to accelerate oil production: killing human life and destroying our environment.
‘I can’t challenge this madness in my desk job, designing bridges, so I’m taking direct action, occupying the QE2 bridge until the government stops all new oil.’
Marcus added he felt the current political system in the UK was ‘betraying the people of this country’.
He said: ‘Too many people in this country simply don’t know the scale and intensity of climate breakdown as the scientists describe it.
‘The authorities are criminally failing to get this grim science communicated. During Covid the science was conveyed on a daily basis.
‘Why isn’t the most existential threat that humanity has ever faced on the news every day?
‘Our political system is betraying the people of this country. More fossil fuel licenses means global genocide. Only direct action will now help to reach the social tipping point we so urgently need.’
Essex Police said colleagues at National Highways escorted traffic through the Dartford Tunnel in a bid to alleviate the impact of the road closure.
The crossing is now the only way to cross the Thames by road east of London with the A282, which connects both ends with the M25, running over the bridge.
The road has been closed for more than 24 hours after the pair of Just Stop Oil activists scaled the girders. Since then they have remained in the air and have set up a banner between two of the masts
The protesters unfurled a banner with the words ‘Just Stop Oil’ between two of the masts on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge
The crossing contains two tunnels and the bridge, with the tunnels taking traffic north from Kent to Essex and the bridge taking vehicles in the other direction.
Angry motorists have hit out at the protesters, accusing them of turning the M25 into a ‘car park’ as commuters struggle to get to work on Monday morning.
Others accused the demonstrators of potentially costing lives by stopping ‘hundreds of NHS staff’ from getting to work and preventing people from getting to hospital and doctors appointments.
One video posted on social media shows an ambulance with blue lights flashing stuck in the traffic at Chafford Hundred in Essex on Monday morning.
Chief Constable Harrington said he thought the pair were ‘crazy’ and was firmly on the side of motorists.
In an interview with BBC Essex yesterday, he said: ‘We want them to come down, but we’ve got to do that safely. Safely for the public, safely for the people who use the bridge and safely for those who operate the bridge. It’s a really dangerous and difficult environment.
‘I think they are crazy. I’m really frustrated and you’ve got every guarantee from me that the officers there at the moment, working with the Dartford Crossing and National Highways, will get that road open as soon as possible.’
He added: ‘We are advising and guiding the road operator. We are there, lets be honest, to arrest them when they come down. I think it’s criminal.
‘My officers are down there and it’s taking them away from other things and it’s stopping Essex and Kent from working and it’s just not acceptable.’
Those stuck in the queue at Dartford Bridge hit out at the eco-zealots, as frustrated motorists honked their horns, revved their engines and shouted out ‘come on’ as the sea of cars slowly edged toward the crossing.
Oliver Tite, a 25-year-old from Dartford who works as a lift engineer, was trying to get to Essex for a job interview.
‘It’s ridiculous and it’s a pain for everyone,’ he said.
‘I’m late for a job interview, I probably won’t make it, but I’ll just have to wait and see. If I don’t make it on time, I’ll have to get it moved, if they let me move it.
‘But it’s completely out of my hands and so frustrating. I don’t know why they don’t keep the bridge going. It’s the protesters’ choice to be up there, so why don’t we make them deal with the consequences?’
Mother-of-two Jo Reading, a 42-year-old personal assistant from Dartford, said: ‘It’s not great, it’s not great at all.
‘It’s frustrating and I hope it doesn’t take too long to get through. It’s got to the point where you almost expect this kind of thing, which isn’t good either.’
Just Stop Oil said on its website yesterday: ‘Today’s actions follow over two weeks of continuous disruption by supporters of Just Stop Oil in which they have experienced over 450 arrests.
‘On Sunday, there were 14 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters, who blocked Park Lane and sprayed an Aston Martin dealership with orange paint. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested over 1,700 times, with five currently in prison.
‘This is not a one-day event, expect us every day and anywhere. This is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project.
‘Our supporters will be returning – today, tomorrow and the next day – and the next day after that – and every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the UK.’
According to Rich Felgate, a documentary maker who has been filming the group’s recent protests, two of its supporters climbed up this morning ‘shutting down the entire bridge and blocking oil tankers from oil terminals in Essex traveling south’.
On Park Lane on Sunday, one furious black cab driver hauled the eco-zealots from the road.
One motorist bellowed at them: ‘People have got f****** work to go to.’ Another added: ‘People are trying to go to hospital.’
One motorist bellowed at protesters on Park Lane: ‘People have got f****** work to go to’ while another added ‘people are trying to go to hospital’
Members of the public were not amused by the protest group’s activities and removed them from the road themselves
Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint over the Aston Martin car showroom in an apparent spontaneous act of vandalism
The spray painter somehow found themselves on the floor and appeared to have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police
Among the protesters were a pregnant mother and a musician who all vowed to continue with their deeply divisive campaign.
Chloe Thomas, 19, from Cannock said: ‘I’m 15 weeks pregnant this week. Today, we’re out here on the road together, demanding no new oil.
‘How do I explain to my daughter in the years to come where the animals went, where the culture went, where the beauty went, why there are no bees and why I can’t put food in her tummy?
‘You know it’s bad, don’t you? As citizens, as humans, as parents and children we have a responsibility and a right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love.’
David Kearns, 45, a musician from Birmingham, added: ‘I cannot stand by and allow this government to continue destroying everything we love for the sake of nothing but profit.
‘The climate crisis is a product of greed, just as the cost of living crisis is a product of greed and I will not comply with a system that puts profits before the people and the planet. ‘
It came just hours after Home Secretary Suella Braverman slammed the activists as ‘thugs’ and told the Metropolitan Police to ‘do a better job’.
Revealed: Tearful eco-zealot civil engineer, 39, behind Dartford crossing chaos is serial law breaker from New Zealand who bragged about designing XR bamboo structures and glued himself to Tower Bridge
A tearful eco-zealot civil engineer who has caused traffic chaos at the Dartford Crossing is a serial law breaker from New Zealand, MailOnline can reveal.
Morgan Trowland, who has bragged about designing bamboo structures for Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests and once glued himself to Tower Bridge, launched himself back into the headlines today.
The 39-year-old, along with another Just Stop Oil activist, scaled the girders at the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge between Essex and Kent at around 3.50am on Monday, forcing police to close one of the busiest roads in the country.
It is part of the pressure group’s so-called ‘month of protest’ against new oil and gas exploration, with Just Stop Oil warning it intends to keep the road closed for at least 24 hours.
In a video from the top of the bridge this morning, Trowland appeared to have difficulty holding back the tears as the climate protester claimed he was ‘not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.
It is far from the first time Trowland, who hails from New Zealand but lives in Hackney, east London, has decided to take part in highly disruptive protests.
The 39-year-old, who hails from New Zealand, is a veteran of climate change protests
The civil engineer has bragged about building bamboo structures to be used at protests by groups such as Extinction Rebellion
In the past he has taken part in demonstrations by various anarchist groups, including XR, and has ended up in court multiple times, MailOnline can reveal.
And despite being found guilty of breaking the law twice, he has been allowed to continue his activities after walking free from the courts.
In May last year Trowland was among nine XR protester to glue themselves to Tower Bridge, closing the inner-city traffic artery.
Trowland was also one of the ringleaders of the September 2020 blockade of the Hertfordshire newspaper print works.
He bragged that he had designed the two giant bamboo structures that were erected outside the factory to stop production, while he describes himself as being ‘obsessed with bamboo tensegrity [tensile integrity] and how it WILL change the world’ on his Twitter profile.
The XR action stopped three and a half million newspapers – including the Daily Mail, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and the Evening Standard – from being distributed across the country.
Trowland was later ordered to pay £334 pounds in fines and costs at St Albans Magistrates’ Court.
In April 2019 he also was one of a number ‘Tree of Life’ protesters who were arrested for public disorder in the City of London.
Trowland has appeared in court multiple times over his climate change protesting activities. Here he is pictured outside St Albans Magistrates’ Court in May 2021
He was found guilty of the offence at the City of London Magistrates’ Court but given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.
A Facebook post last year indicated Trowland had no intention of giving up his fight for climate action.
He wrote: ‘Your children are facing annihilation within a decade or two, who knows exactly when? People in other parts of the world are facing it now.
‘Inexorably, extreme weather and ecological collapse will alternately scorch, flood and plague our crops leading to food shortages, leading to mob violence, murder and rape as your desperate neighbours turn ugly.
‘We are outta time for incremental changes and we need to organise an emergency response an order of magnitude greater than for COVID. for that we need to take over the state as it’s the only institution through which this could happen. the mechanism proposed for that is a citizens assembly to set legally binding strategy.
‘That may sound impossible but it’s equally impossible to sit back and watch the annihilation lap at our door steps.’
Earlier today he and another Just Stop Oil activist climbed up the Dartford Bridge to protest gas and oil exploration.
In a selfie video taken on top of the structure, Trowland said: ‘I’m not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.
The emotional protester railed against ‘the current fraudulent, charlatan excuse for a Government’, saying it was ‘accelerating that process granting more licences for oil and gas’.
‘It’s an absolute act of treason, it’s selling ourselves and our children into an uninhabitable earth and I believe it’s my duty to do anything in my power to stop it,’ he added.