Shapps demands police remove climate protesters blocking M25

·3-min read

Climate protesters have blocked the M25 for a third time in a week as the Transport Secretary demanded “swift action” by police to clear the road.

Junctions three, at Swanley in Kent, nine at Leatherhead in Surrey, and 28, near Brentwood in Essex, were targeted on Friday morning. Surrey Police said officers had arrested 14 people at junction nine.

Essex Police said officers had arrested 24 people at junction 28 of the M25 and junction 8 of the M11 where it meets the A120.

Insulate Britain, the group behind the demonstrations which is demanding Government action on home insulation, claimed 79 people attempted to block the London orbital motorway hours after their release from police custody following similar protests earlier this week.

Grant Shapps said: “This is dangerous and counterproductive. We all agree that climate change must be tackled, but this sort of behaviour achieves nothing, puts drivers at risk and increases pollution. I expect the police to take swift action to clear the roads.”

It comes as the Home Secretary Priti Patel is said to have called on police to crack down on the protests which brought traffic to a halt.

Surrey Police said on Friday: “We were made aware of protesters at junction 9 of the M25 earlier this morning. 14 people have been arrested. We were also made aware shortly after 9am of protesters at junction 1 of the M3. We are on the scene and arrests are being made. Further updates to follow.”

M25 slip road covered in paint
Highways England workers on the exit slip road of the M25 motorway near Leatherhead (Steve Parsons/PA)

Superintendent Sam Smith, of Essex Police, said: “Incidents of this nature have the potential to cause significant disruption to road users, who may need to get to work, an appointment, or catch a flight.

“Our officers worked quickly to remove attempted protests this morning and made 24 arrests in a matter of minutes.

“The roads have now reopened and traffic is moving freely.”

Ms Patel had already criticised the “selfish” protesters, some of whom had glued themselves to the road, after they stopped thousands of motorists at four junctions on Britain’s busiest motorway shortly after 8am on Wednesday for the second time in three days.

She said the “guerrilla tactics” used by the protesters “detract from their cause” and, although insisting there will “always be space for legitimate groups to make their voices heard”, added: “This Government will not stand by and allow a small minority of selfish protesters to cause significant disruption to the lives and livelihoods of the hard-working majority.”

Insulate Britain said its “actions will continue until the Government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030, which are among the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.”

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