London’s transport network has been granted a High Court injunction against Insulate Britain protesters aimed at preventing them from obstructing traffic.
Transport for London (TfL) said the civil banning order applies to 14 locations around the capital including some of its busiest roads and it follows several previous injunctions against members of the group.
The legal action comes after protesters blocked motorway junctions for the 12th time in the past four weeks on Friday, causing emotional clashes with motorists.
Insulate Britain activists said about 40 demonstrators were involved in blocking the junction of the M25 motorway and the A501 at Old Street roundabout at rush hour on the last working day of the week, prompting long queues of traffic.
TfL said the fresh injunction was granted later on Friday afternoon.
A spokesperson for TfL said: “The safety of people travelling on the capital’s roads is our number one priority.
“We have been granted an injunction this afternoon by the High Court which bans protesters from engaging in activities that obstruct traffic at 14 locations.
“This will help to protect London’s road network and everybody using it.
“We will continue to work closely with the police and other highway authorities in London to manage the impact on the road network, and would encourage people to check their journeys before they travel.”
The injunction applies to Hanger Lane, Vauxhall Bridge, the Hammersmith gyratory system, Blackwall Tunnel, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Park Lane including Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner, Elephant and Castle including all entry and exit roads, the Victoria one-way system, the A501 ring road from Edgware Road to Old Street, Staples Corner, Chiswick roundabout, Redbridge roundabout and the Kidbrooke interchange.
London mayor Sadiq Khan supported the move, with his spokesperson adding: “The Mayor passionately believes in the right to protest, but it must always be done peacefully, safely and within the law.
“We are pleased that TfL has been granted an injunction which bans protesters from engaging in activities that obstruct traffic at 14 locations.
“This will help keep London’s road network safe and everybody using it.”
People who break injunctions can be found to be in contempt of court, but prosecutions usually take several months, meaning there is no immediate impact on the protests.
Three previous injunctions do not seem to have deterred the protesters.
The first injunction, granted to National Highways on September 21, banned the demonstrations on the M25 and was followed by an injunction approved on September 24 which restricted protests around the Port of Dover.
A third injunction on October 2 banned protesters from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A roads in and around London.
The Metropolitan Police said it arrested 16 people on suspicion of obstructing the highway at Friday’s motorway protest which saw many glue themselves to the carriageway, and 19 at Old Street roundabout.
Insulate Britain admitted its actions on the M25 were “in breach” of an earlier injunction obtained by the Government.
📌M25 at J25 today.
‼️1 of 2 locations blocked by Insulate Britain this morning to demand action on insulation from @10downingstreet
📣Come on Boris, #getonwiththejob
— Insulate Britain (@InsulateLove) October 8, 2021
Tracey Mallagan, a spokesperson for Insulate Britain, which is calling on the Government to insulate all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions, said: “If governments don’t act soon to reduce emissions, we face a terrifying situation.
“We won’t be worrying about shortages of pasta or loo rolls because law and order breaks down pretty quickly when there is not enough food to go round.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps branded members of Insulate Britain “glued fools” and said he had been “applying actively” for more injunctions.
He told LBC: “It’s dangerous, it’s really outrageous, and actually, ironically, it probably adds to pollution as cars idle, waiting for their nonsense … for them to be unglued from the road.
A501 at Old Street today.1 of 2 locations blocked this morning to demand action on insulation from @10downingstreet
— Insulate Britain (@InsulateLove) October 8, 2021
“Existing laws need toughening up to get these glued fools off the road and the Home Secretary has said she will do that in the Crime and Sentencing Policing Bill that is going through Parliament.
“In the meantime, I have been applying actively for court injunctions, which cover the national highway network around London, around the South East. Now these people can go to jail for what they’re doing.
“I very much imagine that the courts will take very dimly of the view that they’re ignoring a court injunction. It can be unlimited fines, it can be six months in jail. We have been actively serving door-to-door individuals – over 100 have been served.
“I think we’ll start to see the courts take a very, very dim view and lock some of these people up, it is unacceptable.
“I can tell you that those injunctions may well have been breached and people may be going to prison as a result.”