Watch: Protesters block M25 for third time this week
Climate change protesters disrupting the M25 for the third time in a week claim many of their demonstrators had just been released by police.
Insulate Britain brought more traffic chaos to the motorway on Friday, the third time this week its protesters have left motorists in long queues.
The group, which is demanding government action on home insulation, said on Friday that 79 of its activists had tried to block the London orbital road.
In a statement, it said: “Early this morning, 79 people from Insulate Britain attempted to block the M25 for a third time in a week, hours after being released by police.
“They are demanding that Boris [Johnson] gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes, starting with the homes of the poorest people in the country.”
We've acted quickly to minimise disruption and make 24 arrests after attempts to block parts of the #M25 and #M11 this morning.
It follows incidents at the junction with the #A12 on the M25 and the junction with the #A120 on the #M11.
Read more: https://t.co/Xi00EN4fuB pic.twitter.com/FDRC5Uln6x
— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) September 17, 2021
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 near Stansted Airport.
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."
Protesters ran across busy stretches of the motorway, while blue paint was poured on to the road.
The group added that “89 people were released from several different custody centres across south-east England on Thursday morning and they have returned to the M25 today”.
Junction 3, at Swanley in Kent, junction 9, at Leatherhead in Surrey, and junction 28, near Brentwood in Essex, were targeted. Surrey Police said officers had arrested 14 people at Junction 9.
The force said: “We were made aware of protesters at junction 9 of the M25 earlier this morning. Fourteen 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.”
Surrey Police said later than 10 people had been arrested at junction 1 of the M3.
Transport secretary demanded “swift action” by police to clear the road.
He 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.”
Traffic on the M25 was halted on Monday and Wednesday following previous protests. Four police forces have been involved in the operation and more than 70 protesters have been arrested each day.
Home secretary Priti Patel is said to have told police to take “decisive” action to crack down on the protests which brought traffic to a halt.
In a call with chief constables – including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick – on Friday Morning, Patel is understood to have reiterated her position and sought assurances as she was updated on the situation.
On Thursday, she called the climate change protesters “selfish”.
She said: “Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and there will always be space for legitimate groups to make their voices heard.
“But 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.
“The guerrilla tactics used by Insulate Britain detract from their cause and I know the public will agree that the scenes on the M25 this week were completely unacceptable.”
Insulate Britain said on Friday: “The campaigners aimed to block a number of roundabouts and junctions on the M25 network.
“At Junction 28 in Essex, the police were ready and waiting for the campaigners. They managed to prevent 12 out of 20 from making it onto the carriageway, leading them off in handcuffs.
“The remainder managed to get onto the road and partially blocked the carriageway.”
The group vowed to continue its action “until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030”.
Watch: Climate protesters cause mass delays on motorway