Dozens of people have been arrested after Just Stop oil protesters damaged petrol pumps and blocked access to forecourts on the M25 for hours.
Surrey Police said 35 people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass, after two groups brought Clacket Lane and Cobham Services on the M25 to a standstill during Thursday’s morning rush hour.
Significant damage was caused to the pumps on both forecourts, with a total of 35 pumps damaged at Cobham Services, and a further 20 pumps damaged at Clacket Lane, the force said.
Superintendent Graham Barnett said some 40 officers were involved in following the activity by the protest group.
“We do appreciate that this incident has taken some time to resolve but given the circumstances, we were required to use officers trained in using specialist de-bonding equipment to safely remove the protesters, and this is a lengthy and complex process,” he added.
At Clacket Lane, activists were still stuck to the pumps some seven hours after arriving at the site.
Just Stop Oil said Friday that a total of 43 people were arrested and 35 were later released on bail, leaving eight people still in custody.
The Independent spoke to young activists taking part in the action on Thursday who said they felt they had no choice but to disrupt the mornings of members of the public because they were the last generation able to act to save the planet.
Hannah Hunt, a 23-year-old student at Sussex University, said her generation had done little to contribute to the situation the planet finds itself in.
“This is our way of voicing how we feel, and what the young people here have in common is that we’re utterly terrified,” she said. “We suffer from eco-anxiety and terror about our futures, many of us want to have kids one day and to be able to have a stable future.”
Ms Hunt said that the aim of the action was to convince the government to stop the new licencising and production of fossil fules.
“We’re the last generation able to do something,” she said. “It’s our duty to act.”
The coalition has been disrupting Britain’s oil infrastructure on and off for the past month. They want the government to commit to halt new fossil fuel licensing and production.
Earlier this month, the government announced a new round of licensing for oil and gas projects in the North Sea, saying domestic production of fossil fuels would be crucial to the country’s energy security and as a transition to renewable energy.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently told The Independent that the government is gradually driving down demand from fossil fuels but the country cannot have a cliff edge by turning off our domestic sources overnight.