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A fresh injunction aimed at preventing climate activists from blocking roads is being sought by the Government
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he has instructed National Highways to apply for an injunction covering major roads in south-east England after Insulate Britain blocked three motorway junctions in London on Friday.
Mr Shapps added: “Activists who invade and glue themselves to roads and motorways represent unacceptable, disruptive and dangerous behaviour.”
A High Court injunction prohibiting people from blocking the M25 was obtained by National Highways last week but that has not stopped Insulate Britain.
On Friday activists sat on the road at Junction 3 of the M4 near Heathrow Airport, west London, Junction 1 of the M1 at Brent Cross, north London, and Junction 25 of the M25 at Waltham Cross, north London.
This is the 10th day in the past three weeks that the group has carried out protests.
It has blocked motorways on nine days, while on September 24 it obstructed A roads near the Port of Dover in Kent.
Thirty-nine people were arrested on suspicion of obstruction and conspiracy to commit public nuisance on Friday, the Metropolitan Police said.
Protests on the M4 and M1 began shortly after 8.30am and were cleared by 9am and 10am respectively.
The M25 demonstration started at around 10.30am, with some people gluing their hands to the road while others chained themselves together. They were cleared by 11.50am.
The Met said it “worked swiftly to minimise disruption to motorists”.
Drivers stuck in long queues beeped their horns in frustration, with one grabbing a banner from an activist’s hands.
Insulate Britain said the demonstrators included eight people released from police custody on Thursday after blocking the M25 at Junction 30 in Essex, and others who were arrested earlier this week.
It pledged to continue its action until the Government makes “a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030”.
Come on Boris: get on with the job
The group said in a statement: “It’s incomprehensible that the Government is continuing to delay action on home insulation when we urgently need to cut our carbon emissions, eliminate fuel poverty and help hard-working families with their rising energy bills.
“Added to which industry is crying out for the Government to show some leadership and get behind a national retrofitting strategy. Come on Boris: get on with the job.”
Insulate Britain admitted on Thursday that its protests this week were “in breach” of the Government’s first injunction.
People who break injunctions can be found to be in contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.
But these prosecutions often take several months.
Mr Shapps said on Wednesday that “we are serving papers” and some of the protesters “have already had knocks on their doors”.