‘This is dangerous’: Fourteen arrested as Grant Shapps demands police remove climate protesters blocking M25

The Transport Secretary called the M25 climate protests “dangerous and counterproductive”

Climate protesters have blocked the M25 for a third time in a week as the Transport Secretary demanded “swift action” by police to clear the road.

Junctions three, at Swanley in Kent, nine at Leatherhead in Surrey, and 28, near Brentwood in Essex, were targeted on Friday morning.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Insulate Britain is the group behind the demonstrations which is demanding Government action on home insulation
  • Earlier this week the group claimed 79 people attempted to block the London orbital motorway hours after their release from police custody following similar protests earlier this week
  • It comes as the Home Secretary Priti Patel is said to have called on police to crack down on the protests which brought traffic to a halt
  • Patel had already criticised the “selfish” protesters, some of whom had glued themselves to the road, after they also stopped thousands of motorists at four junctions on Britain’s busiest motorway shortly after 8am on Wednesday for the second time in three days
  • Today, Surrey Police said officers had arrested 14 people at junction nine during the third incident

    What’s been said

    Grant Shapps 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.”

    Surrey Police said on September 17: “We were made aware of protesters at junction 9 of the M25 earlier this morning. 14 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. Further updates to follow.”

    Highways England workers on the exit slip road of the M25 motorway near Leatherhead after protestors blocked the road and left paint on it (image: PA)

    Background

    The climate protesters caused their first major delays by blocking five junctions on the UK’s busiest motorway during rush hour on Monday, September 13.

    Insulate Britain staged sit down protests at Junction 3 for Swanley in Kent, Junction 6 for Godstone in Surrey, Junction 14 for Heathrow Terminal 5, Junction 20 for Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, and Junction 31 for Purfleet in Essex.

    The group said its “actions will continue until the Government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030, which are among the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.”

    Patel said the group is using “guerrilla tactics” which “detract from their cause” and, although insisting there will “always be space for legitimate groups to make their voices heard”, added: “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.”

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