Environmental protesters have been arrested after they blocked junctions off London’s orbital motorway during the morning rush hour causing major delays.
Members of the protest group Insulate Britain, which calls for the UK government to fully fund an overhaul of insulation of all homes in Britain by 2030, blocked the M25 at a number of junctions, clashing with motorists.
Surrey police said “a number of people have been arrested” after protests at junction six, the Godstone interchange, and junction 14, the Poyle interchange near Heathrow, while Essex police said 11 people had been arrested at junction 31 for Purfleet.
At junction 20, Kings Langley interchange in Hertfordshire, one driver was filmed trying to drag a protester from the road after exiting his vehicle.
The man is heard shouting “get out the fucking way” as he manhandles one of the protesters, who were all dressed in orange high-visibility vests and clutching branded banners.
Other protests were reported at junctions three at Swanley in Kent.
A statement from Insulate Britain said: “During rush hour today motorway traffic on the M25 was brought to a standstill by campaigners from Insulate Britain, a new group demanding that the government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes.
“Insulate Britain says today’s disruption is just the start. Actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29m leaky homes, some of the oldest and most energy-inefficient in Europe.”
The group said its demands were delivered by hand to 10 Downing Street on 21 agosto 2021 but so far the UK government had not responded.
Police forces for Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire advised motorists to plan journeys around the disruption and avoid the area if possible as they attempted to bring the protests to a conclusion.
One supporter, Liam Norton, a 36-year-old electrician from London, said he was “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. So stop messing about, Boris, and get on with the job.
“As soon as a statement is made that we can trust and is meaningful, we will get off the roads.”
The AA president, Edmund King, disse: “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.”