Insulate Britain protesters banned from 17 locations around London to ‘protect capital’s roads’

·4-min read
Insulate Britain protesters banned from 17 locations around London to ‘protect capital’s roads’

Transport for London has obtained a High Court injunction banning Insulate Britain protesters from obstructing traffic at 14 locations around the capital.

The injunction was granted on Friday afternoon and applies to a string of key locations including Hanger Lane, Vauxhall Bridge, the Hammersmith gyratory system and Blackwall Tunnel, which members of the protest group blocked earlier in the week, causing huge tailbacks.

The order also covers Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Park Lane including Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner, Elephant and Castle including all entry and exit roads, the Victoria one-way system, the A501 ring road from Edgware Road to Old Street, Staples Corner, Chiswick roundabout, Redbridge roundabout and the Kidbrooke interchange.

The legal action comes after protesters blocked junctions for the 12th time in the past four weeks on Friday, causing emotional clashes with motorists.

Insulate Britain activists said about 40 demonstrators were involved in blocking the junction of the M25 motorway and the A501 at Old Street roundabout at rush hour on the last working day of the week, prompting long queues of traffic.

Announcing the injunction, a TfL spokesperson said: “The safety of people travelling on the capital’s roads is our number one priority.

“We have been granted an injunction this afternoon by the High Court which bans protesters from engaging in activities that obstruct traffic at 14 locations. This will help to protect London's road network and everybody using it.

A police officer speaks to one of the protesters at Old Street (Insulate Britain)
A police officer speaks to one of the protesters at Old Street (Insulate Britain)

“We will continue to work closely with the police and other highway authorities in London to manage the impact on the road network and would encourage people to check their journeys before they travel.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan supported the move, with his spokesperson adding: “The Mayor passionately believes in the right to protest, but it must always be done peacefully, safely and within the law.

“We are pleased that TfL has been granted an injunction which bans protesters from engaging in activities that obstruct traffic at 14 locations.

“This will help keep London's road network safe and everybody using it.”

Around 20 activists took part in Friday’s Old Street roundabout action (REUTERS)
Around 20 activists took part in Friday’s Old Street roundabout action (REUTERS)

It came hours after the eco-warriors returned to London’s streets to block up Old Street roundabout at rush hour.

Around 20 activists in high-vis jackets were seen walking out to the busy central London gyratory before sitting down and holding up signs.

The group were quickly surrounded by dozens of Metropolitan Police officers captured talking to the activists who had superglued their hands to the tarmac.

Some were carried off by officers and others led away as police sought to clear the main road.

A Met spokesman said: “This is causing an unreasonable disruption to the community. Specialist teams are on scene and working to remove those protesting.”

The group did move to one side to allow an ambulance on an emergency call through their line.

Another group also walked out at junction 25 of the M25 at around 8am on Friday.

Police, who were waiting for them, ran to tackle a couple of the activists before they could glue themselves down.

Other officers moved to drag the protesters off the Waltham Cross junction and dump them on the hard shoulder.

The protests marked the 12th time that Insulate Britain has caused disruption on roads over the past month.

The M25 blockade was in breach of the injunction granted to the Highways Agency on September 22.

The Metropolitan Police said it arrested 16 people at the motorway protest, and 19 at Old Street roundabout.

All were detained on suspicion of obstructing the highway.

Tracey Mallagan, from Insulate Britain, issued a dramatic statement calling for Boris Johnson to be “tried for treason”.

She said: “If governments don’t act soon to reduce emissions, we face a terrifying situation. We won’t be worrying about shortages of pasta or loo rolls because law and order breaks down pretty quickly when there is not enough food to go round.

“The government won’t be wondering if there are enough hospital beds or ventilators, but whether there are enough people left to bury the dead.”

It came after the group blocked three major routes in the capital - the Blackwall Tunnel, Hanger Lane and Wandsworth Bridge with 54 arrests on Monday.

People who break injunctions can be found to be in contempt of court, but prosecutions usually take several months, meaning there is no immediate impact on the protests.

Three previous injunctions do not seem to have deterred the protesters.

The first injunction, granted to National Highways on September 21, banned the demonstrations on the M25 and was followed by an injunction approved on September 24 which restricted protests around the Port of Dover.

A third injunction on October 2 banned protesters from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A roads in and around London.

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