M25 protest: Insulate Britain activists could face jail as government secures injunction

National Highways has granted an injunction against Insulate Britain protestors who shut down parts of the M25 this week causing traffic chaos

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Insulate Britain protestors could face going to prison as National Highways has been granted an injunction against the protests, Transport Secretary Grant Schapps has confirmed.

In just over a week, the environmental protestors have shut down the M25 five times, with many involved having already been arrested and released several times.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • The injunction means the punishment for taking part in the protests will be tougher as activists will be in contempt of court and could be detained.
  • Insulate Britain confirmed it led the demonstration on Tuesday (21 September), adding that new people have joined its campaign who have been involved in similar demonstrations in Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex and Surrey over the past two weeks.
  • Surrey Police arrested 38 activists from the group on Tuesday who had targeted junctions nine and 10 of Britain’s busiest motorway.
  • Footage taken at the scene by LBC showed the protesters walking on to the motorway and sitting down on the ground in front of moving traffic.
  • Some then held up banners reading “Insulate Britain” and poured blue paint on to the road, before they were dragged away by officers.

What have ministers said?

The Transport Secretary took to Twitter to warn protestors of the dangers they are causing by blocking the M25.

He said: “Invading a motorway is reckless and puts lives at risk.

“I asked National Highways to seek an injunction against M25 protestors which a judge granted last night. Effective later today, activists will face contempt of court with possible imprisonment if they flout.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel added: “We will not tolerate lives being put at risk” and “Those who continue to do so risk imprisonment.”

Will the injunction stop the protests?

Insulate Britain spokeswoman Zoe Cohen hinted on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the injunction would not deter the protestors campaigning for important issues.

Ms Cohen said: “The people taking part in these actions understand that the risks they are taking are because that we have tried everything else to make the government protect us from the predicted impacts of climate chaos.

“That involves the loss of all that we cherish, our society, our way of life and law and order.

“We’re calling for the installation and whole house retrofitting of social housing by 2025 and all homes by 2030, because this is the most effective way to reduce emissions, save lives from fuel poverty,”

However, the Transport Secretary believes the injunction granted against M25 protesters will bring an end to the demonstrations.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday (22 September), he said: “It’s unacceptable and I hope the injunction will bring it to a close.”

Why are they protesting?

Insulate Britain activists are demanding action from the government in order to help our planet and the environment.

The campaign also added that the recent rise in gas and electricity costs has “increased the urgency” for change.

Activists will end the campaign as soon as it hears a “meaningful commitment” to its demands.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.