Eco-mob block M25 in Essex: Insulate Britain stage 16th protest

Drivers were once again delayed by Insulate Britain today after 14 of the activists blocked the M25 by walking onto the motorway in rush hour – prompting ten arrests.

The eco zealots, who were carrying out their 16th day of road demonstrations in less than seven weeks, were on Britain’s busiest motorway between junctions 28 and 29 near Brentwood in Essex from 8am this morning.

The campaign group boasted that they caused ‘major disruption on the M25 in several locations, by walking on the motorway’ and were ‘demanding that the Government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes’. 

Insulate Britain have brought chaos to motorways and A roads across the capital since mid-September with 146 people taking part in the campaign and 739 arrests made so far – but no one has yet been charged. 

The activists were effectively banned from all major roads in England on Monday after a major High Court ruling, and a hearing yesterday was told just three days of their protests had an ‘economic cost’ of almost £900,000.

Insulate Britain boasted of causing 'major disruption on the M25 in several locations' and are on the M25 in Essex today

Insulate Britain boasted of causing 'major disruption on the M25 in several locations' and are on the M25 in Essex today

Insulate Britain boasted of causing ‘major disruption on the M25 in several locations’ and are on the M25 in Essex today

Traffic builds up on the M25 in Essex this morning as activists from Insulate Britain are detained by police

Traffic builds up on the M25 in Essex this morning as activists from Insulate Britain are detained by police

Traffic builds up on the M25 in Essex this morning as activists from Insulate Britain are detained by police 

Police vehicles arrive just as activists from Insulate Britain try to block the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex today

Police vehicles arrive just as activists from Insulate Britain try to block the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex today

Police vehicles arrive just as activists from Insulate Britain try to block the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex today

Insulate Britain protesters again block the M25 this morning by walking onto the motorway between junctions 28 and 29

Insulate Britain protesters again block the M25 this morning by walking onto the motorway between junctions 28 and 29

Insulate Britain protesters again block the M25 this morning by walking onto the motorway between junctions 28 and 29

Environmental activists from Insulate Britain are detained by police on the hard shoulder of the M25 in Essex this morning

Environmental activists from Insulate Britain are detained by police on the hard shoulder of the M25 in Essex this morning

Environmental activists from Insulate Britain are detained by police on the hard shoulder of the M25 in Essex this morning

Today, an Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We are on scene of disruption on the M25. We received a call at 8am that a number of people were blocking the road between Junction 28 and 29. Officers are already on scene and the southbound track has been reopened. We’ll bring you more information when we have it.’

Insulate Britain spokesman Liam Norton said: ‘In a couple of days Cop26 will start in Glasgow and the eyes of the world will be on this country. Britain should be leading the world with radical plans to decarbonise our society.

Insulate Britain: How activists have made a mockery of the law

September 13 – 78 Insulate Britain protesters arrested after blocking junctions 3, 6, 14, 20 and 31 of the M25

September 15 – More than 50 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 1, 8, 9 and 23 of the M25

September 17 – 48 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 3, 9 and 28 of the M25, as well as the M3

September 20 – 29 protesters are arrested after blocking the M25 at junctions 4 and 18, as well as the A1

September 21 – Protesters risk death by running into moving traffic to block the carriageway near Junction 10. Some 38 arrests are made. National Highways obtains an injunction against further protests on the M25

September 22 – Protesters burn copies of the injunction outside the Home Office, blocking the road outside the ministry. No arrests are made

September 24 – 39 protesters arrested after blocking roads at three locations in Dover. They are all released under investigation. National Highways obtains a second injunction covering Dover.

September 27 – 53 protesters are arrested for blocking a slip road at Junction 14 of the M25. They are all released under investigation.

September 28 – National Highways says it is taking ‘legal advice’ over how to enforce its injunction

September 29 – 27 protesters are arrested for blocking a roundabout at Junction 3 of the M25 on two occasions

September 30 – Protesters return to junction 30 at Thurrock in Essex, and nine are arrested

October 1: The group block the M4 at junction 3, the M1 at junction 1 and M25 at junction 25. Some 39 arrests

October 2: Third injunction bans them from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A roads in and around London 

October 4: 38 arrests after protesters block three major roads in London – the Blackwall Tunnel, Wandsworth Bridge and A40 and North Circular at Hanger Lane. 

October 8: 19 arrested over protest at Old Street roundabout and a further 16 on the M25 at junction 24. Transport for London gets a High Court injunction to ban them from obstructing traffic in 14 locations in London.

October 13: Protesters return to the M25 at junction 31 and a nearby industrial estate, with 35 people arrested.

October 25: Activists target areas around Southwark Bridge, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street station. Some 53 are arrested.

October 27: Protesters blockade the A40 in North Acton, West London, and a major roundabout next to the Dartford Crossing in Kent. Kent Police arrested 32 protesters, while the Metropolitan Police detained 17.

October 29: 14 activists from Insulate Britain walk onto the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex 

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‘What we have instead is a budget that is yet another act of treason by this government upon its own people. It is a plan that facilitates mass murder. The citizens of this country should be in open revolt. We need change and we need it quickly.

‘It is clear that this government has no intention of getting on with the job that they were elected to do. No intention of protecting the country from climate collapse. Our children’s futures have been trashed. 

‘Our country sold out. We have been betrayed by the traitors now in power. We ask all decent ordinary people to join us, to rise up and take part in nonviolent civil resistance against tyranny.’

The group, which is an offshot of Extinction Rebellion, has demanded that Boris Johnson ‘gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s homes which is the best first step to cutting our carbon emissions’.

They claim this will avoid 8,500 deaths due to fuel poverty and help struggling families pay their energy bills this winter.

Another spokesman for the group, Tracey Malligan, said: ‘I wish I didn’t have to cause disruption, but nonviolent civil resistance is the only thing that will get the job done, it is the only thing that has a hope of working within the short time that we have. Within a few years, we will face rising levels of disruption, chaos and tragedy. 

‘Extreme weather, floods and crop failure are just the start. Do you have any idea what happens to society and law and order when the food runs out? It’s going to get ugly. Vulnerable elderly folk, families with kids and the disabled will be the first to die.

‘It’s time to stop passively expecting your government to take care of this. They do not have your best interests at heart. It’s time to get off the sidelines and join us. It’s black and white – we either resist this criminality or we are complicit in it.’

It comes after the High Court was told yesterday that three days of Insulate Britain protests had an ‘economic cost’ of almost £900,000. Activists from group have blocked major roads on 16 days since September 13.

Demonstrations which took place in different junctions on the M25 and A20 on September 13, 15 and 24, were ‘incredibly dangerous’ and ‘unpredictable’, according to National Highways.

The protests, one of which lasted for over seven hours, had an estimated cost of £883,962, court documents reveal.

It came as part of a written submission by the agency’s barrister, who was seeking continuation of an interim injunction at a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday.

The injunction bans the group from obstructing traffic and prevents access to 4,300 miles of motorways and major A-roads.

Saira Kabir Sheikh QC argued: ‘The estimated, lower bound, costs of these protests on drivers are substantial, with the lowest still causing £20,124 in loss and the most impactful, so far, costing an estimated £324,107.

‘This does not account for any costs associated with missed appointments, disruption to manufacturing or retail, missed transportation slots at airports or ports, or the direct cost to police or National Highways of managing the incidents.’

Ms Sheikh said Duncan Smith, the acting executive director of operations of National Highways, warned in a witness statement it is ‘only a matter of time’ before a ‘serious incident’ occurs as the result of the road blockades.

Insulate Britain are on Britain's busiest motorway between junctions 28 and 29 near Brentwood in Essex this morning

Insulate Britain are on Britain's busiest motorway between junctions 28 and 29 near Brentwood in Essex this morning

Insulate Britain are on Britain’s busiest motorway between junctions 28 and 29 near Brentwood in Essex this morning

Police vehicles arrive just as activists from Insulate Britain try to block the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex today

Police vehicles arrive just as activists from Insulate Britain try to block the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex today

Police vehicles arrive just as activists from Insulate Britain try to block the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 in Essex today

Police officers stand next to Insulate Britain campaigners who walked onto the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 today

Police officers stand next to Insulate Britain campaigners who walked onto the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 today

Police officers stand next to Insulate Britain campaigners who walked onto the M25 between junctions 28 and 29 today

She went on to say ‘there is a real and imminent risk’ of larger scale and wider ranging protests from the group which will ’cause significantly more disruption’.

Retired vicar, 79, is back again with Insulate Britain and arrested for a TENTH time in just six weeks 

A retired Anglican vicar was once again back at the Insulate Britain protests today – marking the tenth time she has been arrested in less than seven weeks.

Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, from Bristol, who is also involved with Extinction Rebellion, was taken away from between junctions 28 and 29 of the M25 in Essex today.

It was the third time she has been arrested this week – having also been detained near Dartford in Kent on Wednesday, and on Bishopsgate in London on Monday.

She has also already been arrested at other protests on the M25 on September 13, 21 and 29, and October 13.

Insulate Britain said on Wednesday that Parfitt had been arrested nine times while protesting with the group – making today the tenth time she has been detained.

Parfitt was fined more than £1,500 in July after she took part in two XR road blockades in Parliament Square and outside a Ministry of Defence site near Bristol.

Insulate Britain protester Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, is arrested between junctions 28 and 29 of the M25 in Essex today

Insulate Britain protester Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, is arrested between junctions 28 and 29 of the M25 in Essex today

Insulate Britain protester Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, is arrested between junctions 28 and 29 of the M25 in Essex today

Wednesday, Dartford

Wednesday, Dartford

Monday, London

Monday, London

Sue Parfitt is arrested on Wednesday (left) and Monday (right)

September 13

September 13

September 21

September 21

Parfitt arrested on September 13 (left) and September 21 (right)

September 29

September 29

October 13

October 13

Parfitt arrested on September 29 (left) and October 13 (right)

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Ms Sheikh added: ‘Further, it is stated that the unpredictable nature of the location of the protests and lack of advance warning together with the increasing public safety risk is preventing NHL (National Highways) from carrying out its statutory duty as the highway authority for the SRN (strategic road network) – particularly in regard to the safety of the travelling public.’

At the end of yesterday’s hearing, Mr Justice Lavender adjourned the decision on whether to grant a continuation to the injunction, after Insulate Britain activists argued they were not given enough time to gain legal representation.

Dr Diana Warner, a member of the group, told the court: ‘We are talking about an existential emergency, not about people being late to their jobs or losing a bit of money, we need to change what we’re doing for everybody’s future.

‘This is an example of bullying, no other groups are being singled out for doing worse, it’s bullying and I hope this court doesn’t sanction it.’

Activist Mr Norton argued that more time should have been given to the group ahead of the hearing for activists to gain legal representation.

Another member of the group declared: ‘This is unfair, it is bullying and a questionable politicisation of the legal system.’

Mr Justice Lavender told the court: ‘What I’m minded to do is adjourn my consideration to a later date to give the defendants a bit more time to gain legal representation.’

It means the order remains in place until a hearing on November 11.

Members of Insulate Britain have also been made subject to three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.

Meanwhile, an Insulate Britain crowdfunding page that received more than £60,000 of donations has been removed following accusations of it ‘funding criminal activity’.  

The fundraising page on Crowdfunder raised a total of £61,970 from 632 contributions in the 29 days since it was created.

The page claims the donations are to assist with ‘movement building, non-violent direct action training, back office costs and campaign materials and equipment’.

However, Crowdfunder has now prevented any further money from being donated to the campaign group.

In a tweet, Insulate Britain claimed the fundraiser was to end at 5pm yesterday ‘due to pressure from the media’.

However, the move follows concerns over the legality of the donations, which appear to be in direct rules for fundraising by funding criminal activity.

Tom Barr, a Surrey resident delayed by Insulate Britain and who raised concerns about Insulate Britain’s funding page to Crowdfunder, said it was ‘obviously the funding of crime’.

He added: ‘Crowdfunder and the Fundraising Regulator are to be commended for taking prompt action on preventing what was obviously the funding of crime.

‘But it should not be for ordinary people to make this happen; the taxpayer supports generous salaries for the senior figures in authority that should be acting imaginatively, proactively and robustly to protect the public.’

A spokesperson for the Fundraising Regulator said Crowdfunder had not referred the page, but the watchdog did confirm that it is ‘in discussion with the platform about the general legal questions that have been raised’.

A statement continued: ‘Insulate Britain is a campaigning group made up of likeminded individuals and not a registered charity within the legal scope of the Charity Commission, nor does it fall within the Fundraising Regulator’s regulatory remit, as it is not a charitable fundraising organisation.

‘We work with 20 online fundraising platforms registered with us to develop standards and guidance, reflected in the Code of Fundraising Practice.

‘The Code makes clear the responsibilities of online platforms to ensure that fundraising activity carried out using their sites is lawful, and where it is charitable, complies with the Code of Fundraising Practice.

‘Crowdfunder has not referred this matter to us as we do not regulate the activity of Insulate Britain and individuals raising money for personal projects, however, we are in discussion with the platform about the general legal questions that have been raised.’

Link hienalouca.com

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