Insulate Britain protesters are now walking towards oncoming traffic on motorways, in a change of tactics following “feedback” about their previous demonstrations.
The group are calling on the Government to insulate Britain’s homes, starting with those of the poorest, as they say this is the best first step in cutting carbon emissions.
Change in tactics after 'frustrated feedback'
A group of 14 activists from Insulate Britain protested today on “several parts” of the M25 by walking down the white lines dividing the lanes of the motorway towards oncoming traffic.
A spokesperson for the group said safety was “paramount” and the protests would not have proceeded if cars did not slow down sufficiently.
The group say it is the sixteenth time they have caused disruption on motorways and A roads “as part of our campaign of nonviolent civil resistance” over the past six weeks.
Essex Police say they reacted “swiftly” removing people from the road and making 10 arrests, with the road reopening in half an hour.
A spokesperson for Insulate Britain said at the scene of the protests: “The intention is to enter the carriageway and walk towards the oncoming traffic along the white lines.
“If cars don’t slow down and are hurtling along at full speed then we will be on the hard shoulder wearing our hi-vis with the banners.
“We would hope that it slows down anyway.
He added: “We’ve had feedback that people are frustrated that they spent time in traffic queues.
“This is like a rolling traffic queue, so we’ll move, and once they get to the front they will be able to move on.
“We’re not planning to stop traffic but it could slow down to five miles an hour.
Following the demonstration, Essex Police Chief Inspector Lee Devall said: “Not only will incidents of this nature be frustrating for road users trying to reach their destination, walking into fast moving traffic is extremely dangerous.
“I’d like to thank road users today for their patience and understanding.
“You’ve helped us to clear the area quickly, to keep people safe, minimise disruption, and keep Essex moving.
“We will continue to deal with these incidents robustly.”
'Get off the sidelines and join us'
Campaigners have criticised the Government as failing to take climate change seriously following the autumn budget, and with the crucial COP26 climate summit about to get underway.
In a statement, Liam Norton from Insulate Britain said: “In a couple of days COP 26 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. 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.”
Tracey Malligan from Insulate Britain 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.
“Its black and white - we either resist this criminality or we are complicit in it”