National Highways has secured a High Court injunction to prevent Just Stop Oilprotesters disrupting England’s busiest motorway.
The court has granted a further injunction which aims to stop unlawful demonstrations on the M25, which encircles Greater London, in an attempt to end disruption to the busy road by the environmental group. It means that anyone entering the motorway and fixing themselves to any object or structure on it, and anyone assisting in such an act, can be held in contempt of court.
They could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and the seizure of assets. The injunction was secured in addition to an court order obtained by National Highways earlier this year that targeted protesters including those from Insulate Britain.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said he instructed National Highways to apply for the latest injunction to tackle a “reckless minority of protesters”. He said: “Protesting by blocking busy motorways or climbing overhead structures is extremely dangerous and disruptive, which is why I instructed National Highways to apply for this further injunction, which the courts have granted.
“This will make it easier to take action against this reckless minority of protesters. They could face imprisonment or an unlimited fine if they breach the injunction.”
Duncan Smith, executive director for operations at National Highways, added: “Millions of people rely on the strategic road network every day and they have a right to expect it to operate as it should. We already have an injunction covering hundreds of miles of our network. This further court order will make it easier to take action against those reckless individuals who choose to unlawfully protest on the M25.
“Protesting on these busy roads is extremely dangerous for the protestors themselves and all road users. National Highways remains committed to do whatever it can to seek to deter unlawful protest activity and punish all of those who breach the injunction orders in the eyes of the law.”
National Highways’ existing injunction covers the M25, the M25 feeder roads and major roads in Kent and around the Port of Dover until May 2023.