Motorists’ anger after Insulate Britain climate change protesters block M25 junctions

Watch: Motorist vents anger at protesters blocking M25

Motorists were left angry and frustrated on Monday morning after climate change protesters caused severe disruption to the M25 motorway.

Demonstrators from a group called Insulate Britain staged a number of sit-down protests on roads across the M25, blocking five junctions. Police forces along the motorway have arrested at least 78 people.

At one protest, an angry motorist was caught on camera trying to drag a demonstrator off the road, a video from LBC Radio showed.

The AA called the protest "incredibly dangerous".

A motorist tried to drag an Insulate Britain protester off a roundabout at a junction of the M25. (LBC/Twitter)
A motorist tried to drag an Insulate Britain protester off a roundabout at a junction of the M25. (LBC/@rachaelvenables)
Climate change protesters blocked a number of junctions of the M25 on Monday. (Insulate Britain)
Climate change protesters blocked a number of junctions of the M25 on Monday. (Insulate Britain)

Read more: Pub landlady turns away her own unvaccinated daughter

The protesters, who sat down in high-visibility jackets while holding up banners, are demanding government action on home insulation. A number of protesters have been arrested, various police forces said.

National Highways said there was disruption at Junction 3 for Swanley in Kent, Junction 6 for Godstone in Surrey, Junction 14 for Heathrow Terminal 5, Junction 20 for Kings Langley in Hertfordshire and Junction 31 for Purfleet in Essex.

Essex Police said 12 people were arrested at Junction 31 on suspicion of highways obstruction.

Chief Inspector Paul Austin said: “This incident caused significant disruption and our officers worked to resolve it as quickly and safely as possible.

“I want to thank the drivers affected for their patience and understanding.”

Surrey Police said 36 protesters were arrested at Junctions 6 and 14. Hertfordshire Police arrested 18 people and Kent Police a further 12, brining the overall total to 78 arrests.

One motorist, Sam from Bromley, who did not wish to give his surname, said he has been stuck in the traffic on the M25 with his two young children, aged six months and two years, for three hours because of the protest.

“I am seething at how irresponsible and selfish their demonstration is,” he told the PA Media news agency.

“It is ill-considered and poorly executed. I am all for change and reducing fuel poverty but there are more sensible ways to lobby and protest.”

Insulate Britain describes itself as “a new group demanding that the government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes”.

Its website warned that the disruption on Monday morning is “just the start”, and “action will continue until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes”.

Read more: Grandfather dies after 'assault' outside home

One supporter, Liam Norton, a 36-year-old electrician from London, said he is “shocked at the lack of significant action from our government”.

He went on: “It’s a no-brainer. Insulating Britain will reduce emissions, provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and stop our elderly dying in cold homes each winter.

“As soon as a statement is made that we can trust and is meaningful, we will get off the roads.”

But AA president Edmund King said: “This action is not only incredibly dangerous in potentially putting lives at risk but it also backfires in environmental terms by causing more delays and more vehicle emissions.

“These are some of the busiest sections of the M25 where tens of thousands of drivers will have been affected and has a negative knock-on effect on economic activity.”

Watch: Long queues as protesters bring the M25 to a standstill