M25 climate protesters now risk prison time and unlimited fines

Activists who have been carrying out a string of disruptive demonstrations along the M25, causing travel chaos for tens of thousands of people, will be in contempt of court if they breach the terms of an interim injunction won by National Highways.

Campaign group Insulate Britain’s recent demonstrations have led to considerable disruption on one of the UK’s busiest motorways – creating a backlog of traffic and more pollution – as well as blocking the emergency services from reaching those whose lives are in danger.

Over 200 people involved with the demonstrations have already been arrested and previous actions of Extinction Rebellion – of which Insulate Britain is an offshoot – have cost the UK taxpayer £50 million.

The protest group has been calling for the installation of heat-saving measures in social housing by 2025, and all homes by 2030.

Breach of the injunction can be punishable by up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine, serving as a deterrent for anyone thinking of rejoining the disruptive action.

National Highways intends to return to court to extend the injunction and potentially seek additional powers of arrest.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We will not let these demonstrators wreak havoc on our roads, disrupt thousands of people’s journeys and put lives in danger. Not only are they creating more traffic and pollution, they are alienating the public from their own cause.

“[On September 22], we’re taking action, bringing in further measures to stop those taking part in these self-defeating protests, while we continue the work we’re already carrying out to clean up our air and reach net zero.”

Police officers carry away a protester from a slip road on the M25
Police officers carry away a protester from a slip road on the M25
(Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

Home Secretary Priti Patel added: “This injunction is an important step in stopping these activists putting lives needlessly at risk on our busy roads.

“Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and there will always be space for people to make their voices heard. It cannot be at the expense of public safety.

“The police have our full support in cracking down on this reckless behaviour.”

The government says it is ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030, investing billions of pounds to help industry and drivers make the switch to cleaner vehicles, and will continue its work to install thousands of charge points and boost the development of new technologies to meet ambitious net zero goals.

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