Thirty arrested on 10th day of Insulate Britain protests

·3-min read

Thirty people have been arrested as climate group Insulate Britain blocked three motorway junctions on Friday, causing long queues of traffic.

Activists sat on the road at roundabouts for Junction 3 of the M4 near Heathrow Airport, west London, and Junction 1 of the M1 at Brent Cross, north London shortly before 8.30am.

A third group blocked a roundabout at Junction 25 of the M25 at Waltham Cross on the boundary between north London and Hertfordshire at around 10.30am, with some gluing their hands to the road and others chaining themselves together.

Drivers stuck in long queues beeped their horns in frustration, with one grabbing a banner from an activist’s hands.

It is the 10th day in the past three weeks that Insulate Britain has carried out protests.

The group has targeted motorways on nine days, while on September 24 it blocked A roads near the Port of Dover in Kent.

The Metropolitan Police said on Friday the protesters blocked the M4 at around 8.27am. Officers were on the scene in 13 minutes and the road was cleared by 9am, with 13 people arrested for obstruction and conspiracy to commit public nuisance.

The M1 was cleared by 10am with 17 people detained for the same offences.

The force issued an update at 12.10pm stating that it was responding to the M25 protest.

Insulate Britain said the demonstrators included eight people released from police custody on Thursday after blocking the M25 at Junction 30 in Essex, and others who were arrested earlier this week.

It pledged to continue its action until the Government makes “a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030”.

The group said in a statement: “It’s incomprehensible that the Government is continuing to delay action on home insulation when we urgently need to cut our carbon emissions, eliminate fuel poverty and help hard-working families with their rising energy bills.

“Added to which industry is crying out for the Government to show some leadership and get behind a national retrofitting strategy. Come on Boris: get on with the job.”

The Government obtained an injunction last week which means anyone blocking the M25 could be found to be in contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Insulate Britain admitted that its actions this week “are in breach” of the injunction.

Insulate Britain protest
A demo took place at Junction 3 of the M4 near Heathrow Airport (Insulate Britain/PA)

Hugh Bladon, founding member of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “What we need now is firm action from the police before someone gets killed.

“They’ve made their point, now go away and get this country working properly. They’re bang on about insulating houses though.

“They need to let this country get back to living normally. They need to be seen by the courts, and they need to be dealt with – you can’t allow this to go on.”

Sir Stephen House, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee on Thursday he is concerned police forces are under so much pressure to quickly clear the protests that “officers are putting their lives at risk”.

He went on: “The most recent one I saw had officers running between articulated lorries that were moving on the main carriageway of the M25.

“We cannot be doing that.”

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