M25 protest: Insulate Britain activists dragged off the motorway by police after running into traffic

·4-min read
Police remove activists from the motorway as protesters from Insulate Britain block the M25 motorway near Cobham in Surrey - Guy Smallman/Getty
Police remove activists from the motorway as protesters from Insulate Britain block the M25 motorway near Cobham in Surrey - Guy Smallman/Getty

Activists from Insulate Britain have been dragged from the M25's main carriageway after running into oncoming traffic as part of their climate protests.

For the fifth time in eight days, the group caused chaos on Britain's busiest motorway as the protesters continued to wreak havoc during morning rush hours.

Thirty people were seen on the hard shoulder of the M25 between junctions 9 and 10 in Surrey on both the clockwise and anti-clockwise sides of the road.

Video footage from the scene show members of the protest group running out in front of vehicles including lorries, bringing the motorway to a standstill.

After being criticised for a soft approach in previous days, officers on the scene appeared to be taking a markedly tougher stance on Tuesday morning, physically dragging protesters off the carriageway.

Within minutes, both sides of the M25 were reopened, and police confirmed they had "cleared all of the Insulate Britain protesters off of the road" and that 23 arrests had been made.

In previous days, the protests have mainly focused on sliproads, with activists gluing themselves to the road.

But Tuesday saw Insulate Britain step out into 70mph traffic.

The M25 protest, in pictures

The protesters from Insulate Britain sit down in the middle of the carriageway - Guy Smallman/Getty
The protesters from Insulate Britain sit down in the middle of the carriageway - Guy Smallman/Getty
The activists caused huge traffic jams for the fifth time in just eight days - Guy Smallman/Getty
The activists caused huge traffic jams for the fifth time in just eight days - Guy Smallman/Getty
A woman is dragged from the motorway in front of a Mercedes-Benz which was forced to stop - Guy Smallman/Getty
A woman is dragged from the motorway in front of a Mercedes-Benz which was forced to stop - Guy Smallman/Getty
Police quickly arrested 23 people, having dragged them from the M25, and the carriageway was reopened. Blue paint left by the activists can be seen smeared over the road - Oliver Dixon
Police quickly arrested 23 people, having dragged them from the M25, and the carriageway was reopened. Blue paint left by the activists can be seen smeared over the road - Oliver Dixon

Boris Johnson: Insulate Britain undermining their own cause

It comes after Boris Johnson said the environmental protesters are undermining their cause as he condemned their actions.

In his strongest comments to date on the protests, the Prime Minister said the direct action from Insulate Britain will actually “detract” from their environmental aims.

Mr Johnson also indicated he would favour the police physically moving protesters on in such a circumstance by noting he was trying to change the law to legalise such powers.

Speaking to reporters on a flight to New York for the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister was asked if he thought the group’s tactics were counterproductive and whether police had done enough to thwart them.

The Prime Minister noted he was changing the law to give police "powers to be able to move protesters when they are threatening critical national infrastructure, when they are threatening to do serious economic damage and I think that is entirely right".

He added: "And no, I don’t think these people do any favours to their cause. I think that what they do is detract from a very important moral mission that is widely shared by the people of this country."

The campaigning group confirmed they led the demonstration, adding that new people have joined their campaign to improve home insulation in addition to the others who have been involved in similar demonstrations in Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex and Surrey over the past week.

It added that the recent rise in gas and electricity costs has "increased the urgency" for change and they would end their campaign as soon as they hear a "meaningful commitment" to their demands.

Spokesperson Liam Norton said: "The idea that people would suddenly decide insulating our leaky homes is a bad idea as a result of our campaign is frankly laughable. We are simply asking the Government to get on with the job.

"The people of Britain understand that climate change is a severe threat to everything they hold dear. They are looking to the Government for leadership. We have a practical solution and have received encouragement for our aims from many construction industry professionals."

Climate change activist Dr Diana Warner, a retired GP from Gloucestershire, said: "Insulating homes is such a necessary action right now, for health, economy and climate. All our homes.

"Only the Government can get that done. Boris just needs to get on with it. This is a practical way to start to level up Britain. No words, we need action and results."

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