The Government has won a nationwide injunction against Insulate Britain eco-fanatics covering the ‘entire strategic road network’ in England after the group brought traffic on the streets of the City of London and Canary Wharf to a standstill on Monday.
The High Court in London granted the interim injunction today following an application from National Highways after protesters from the Extinction Rebellion offshoot obstructed roads around Southwark Bridge, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street station.
The new injunction bans activities that obstruct traffic and prevent access to 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads in England, including activists gluing themselves to the roads. Those who breach the order could be jailed for six months and handed an unlimited fine.
National Highways has already taken out three injunctions to prevent action along the M25 and major roads around the Port of Dover following Insulate Britain protests.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted this evening: ‘Insulate Britain are back, risking lives & ruining journeys. 3 specific injunctions are already in place, but today I instructed @NationalHways to apply for an injunction covering the entire strategic road network.
‘Tonight this has been granted on a temp basis by the High Court. The long term solution lies in changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, giving additional powers against disruptive protests which target critical national infrastructure.
‘This includes unlimited fines & prison sentences of up to 6 months for obstructing highways.’
Duncan Smith, Acting Executive Director of Operations at National Highways, said: ‘This new injunction covering the Strategic Road Network across the country is another step forward in helping to keep these reckless and dangerous protests away from our network and endangering peoples’ lives.
‘We continue to serve court papers on those who have breached the previous injunctions. People who breach the injunctions face imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.’
More than 100 demonstrators have already been served with court papers in relation to these injunctions and may face imprisonment or a fine for contempt of court if they are found to be in breach of the orders going forward, the Department for Transport said.
On Friday, National Highways made nine applications to the High Court against protesters who had breached an existing injunction by blocking the M25.
During rush hour on Monday morning, Insulate Britain enviro-idiots leant on car bonnets and stood in roads with banners around the capital from 8.20am, causing misery for motorists and families on half-term holidays. One even glued his face to the road in an attempt to block traffic.
It marked the 14th time that Insulate Britain had caused disruption on motorways or A roads in London over the past six weeks. The group had warned last Friday that they would restart their blockades this week.
Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking a road near Canary Wharf in east London
Police officers remove an ‘Insulate Britain’ protester who was part of a demonstration blocking Upper Thames Street
A police officer detains an Insulate Britain activist lying on the road during a protest in London
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted this evening: ‘Insulate Britain are back, risking lives & ruining journeys. 3 specific injunctions are already in place, but today I instructed @NationalHways to apply for an injunction covering the entire strategic road network’
Insulate Britain activists block a road next to police officers during a protest on Upper Thames Street in London today
Police officers detain a climate activist from the group Insulate Britain in Central London this morning
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 15: Activists target areas around Southwark Bridge, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street station.
The campaign continues despite injunctions leaving them facing court summons and possible imprisonment or an unlimited fine. Last week papers were served against nine of the demonstrators, and they could face up to two years in prison for contempt of court.
A total of 53 were arrested by City of London and Metropolitan Police officers having blocked Upper Thames Street on the north side of Southwark Bridge, Bishopsgate in the Liverpool Street area and Limehouse Causeway at the A1206 junction in Canary Wharf.
The first protest began at 8.16am at Bishopsgate with all impacted roads cleared by 10.30am. The extended time was partially down to activists using superglue which created delays for officers in safely removing people and opening roads.
The organisation said it would ‘rise up against tyranny’ in response to the Government’s Net Zero reports released last week which it said ‘completely fail to meet the challenges we now face’.
Insulate Britain, which wants all UK homes insulated by 2030 to cut carbon emissions, had previously said on October 14 that it was pausing its protests – which have caused major disruption – until this morning.
It comes less than a week before the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow starts on Sunday, which campaigners see as a last chance to nail down carbon-cutting promises that can keep global warming within manageable limits.
The protests also came on the day London’s pollution charge zone for older vehicles was significantly expanded, affecting tens of thousands of motorists. Drivers of vehicles which do not comply with minimum emissions standards are being charged £12.50 to drive in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), which became 18 times larger.
On Bishopsgate, one passer-by shouted at the activists: ‘If anyone gets cancer, please let it be people you know, please let it be people you know. So you know what it’s like to have your loved ones who can’t get treatment. You can sit here, I hope you know what it’s like. My father needs treatment and you sit here doing this. Scum. I hope if anyone gets cancer, I hope it’s your parents… are they alive, are your parents alive?’
One protester replied, saying her mother had died from cancer. But the man added: ‘Do you know what it’s like, someone trying to get treatment for cancer and you’re standing like this? People are trying to get to hospital, of all places. If anyone gets cancer, please let it be your family – let you know what it feels like. All of you.’
Traffic on Bishopsgate was brought to a halt as protesters blocked the road at the junction of Camomile Street. At least seven buses were held up as the activists sat in the road at the traffic lights, and four police vehicles were on the scene.
One activist seemed to have been taken ill and was lying on the floor as a police officer spoke with him. Passers-by heckled the protesters, with one man shouting as he walked by: ‘We all have jobs to go to.’
Protester Tony Hill, 71, who said he had travelled from near Kendal in Cumbria to join in today, said: ‘I’m here today out of anger, fear and determination.
‘The anger that my Government is failing the people of our country. The governments of the world are failing everyone. Everyone says we’re at the 11th hour but we’re at midnight. Nothing substantial is being done by our Government and governments across the world.
‘We’re saying insulate as many buildings as we can. It’s a no brainer. It’s something we can all do, it’s a solution.
‘We’ve got the money; all we need is the will power from our Government to do it. It will save money, create jobs, save lives and save the planet. Why aren’t they doing it?’
Mr Hill, who was at the corner of Bishopsgate and Camomile Street in London, said: ‘Not everyone can do what we’re doing but I’m doing it on behalf of my family and others. I’m a former police officer and a former soldier and parish councillor. For me and everyone today to do something like we are is difficult.
‘We don’t want to be sat on the streets of London but we are compelled to do what we’re doing because it’s something substantial.
‘We’re angry but we’re determined. What we want now is thousands to stand up and be counted and join us and have the courage and confidence to do it and we can change not just our own country, but the world.’
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ’53 people were arrested, those arrests were for obstructing the highway. A number of activists had glued themselves to the road, or each other, in order to frustrate our response. We worked as quickly as possible to safely make arrests and clear any disruption.’
Retired vicar, 79, is back again with Insulate Britain and arrested for a FIFTH time in just six weeks
A retired Anglican vicar was once again back at the Insulate Britain protests today – marking at least the fifth time she has been arrested in the past six weeks.
Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, from Bristol, who has also protested with Extinction Rebellion, was taken away from Bishopsgate in the Liverpool Street area after she blocked the road with other activists this morning.
She has already been arrested at other protests on the M25 on September 13, 21 and 29, and October 13.
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.
Police officers detain Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, from Bristol, at an Insulate Britain protest on Bishopsgate in London today
Parfitt arrested on September 13 (left) and September 21 (right)
Parfitt arrested on September 29 (left) and October 13 (right)
Earlier, the force had said: ‘A total of 52 people have been arrested following a number of protests across London and the City of London this morning.
‘We responded alongside City of London Police to events on Bishopsgate, Upper Thames Street, Limehouse and on Southwark Bridge. Those arrested are en route to custody.’
During the protests, a City of London Police spokesman had said: ‘Bishopsgate is currently closed at the junction with Wormwood Street due to protest activity. Police are at the scene but please avoid the area if possible as this is causing disruption to traffic.
‘Police are also at Southwark Bridge at the junction with Upper Thames Street, which is also closed in both directions, due to protest activity. Please avoid the area if possible.’
Hundreds of arrests have been made during Insulate Britain demonstrations so far, with protesters blockading motorway junctions and roundabouts since September 13 by running onto the road as the lights go red.
They have focused their protests on rush hours to cause maximum impact, with motorists taking it upon themselves to remove them when police are slow to arrive.
Liam Norton from Insulate Britain said today: ‘We know that the public is frustrated and annoyed at the disruption we have caused. They should know that one way or another this country will have to stop emitting carbon.
‘We can do that now in an orderly, planned way, insulating homes and preventing thousands of deaths from fuel poverty or we can wait until millions have lost their homes and are fighting for water or starving to death.
‘This treasonous government has betrayed the public. It is actively following a path that will lead to the death of millions – that’s genocide.
‘If you know this and are not joining non-violent civil resistance then you are complicit. We can’t be bystanders. Short term disruption or genocide – that’s your choice.’
Tracey Mallaghan from Insulate Britain said: ‘I am gutted that we’ve had to return to the roads and irritate people. I am irritated too. I am a single mum and I don’t have time to read climate science and parliamentary reports, but I’ve read the Chatham House report and it’s terrifying.
‘Everyone should read it and ask why their government isn’t taking the action necessary to defend our country from the climate crisis.
‘I understand, more than most, that money is tight and many people are struggling and stressed beyond belief. It’s hard to see the bigger picture when you are anxious about putting food on the table but stop and think for a moment.
‘The people on the road are not your enemy, they are not the ones that have betrayed you and f***ed over this country. They are acting out of love to protect your children and people everywhere from misery, starvation and death.’
The group’s co-founder Roger Hallam previously said he would block an ambulance carrying a dying patient so he could get Insulate Britain’s message across.
An Insulate Britain spokesman said last Friday: ‘Insulate Britain has considered the British Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Net Zero Strategy and the Cost of Net Zero report.
‘We concluded that, while these would have been a good first step 30 years ago, they completely fail to meet the challenges we now face.
‘What we need in this ‘period of consequence’ is a wartime style national effort, a united front of shared sacrifice, not a plan to cross your fingers and hope for the best.
‘Therefore Insulate Britain will continue our campaign of nonviolent civil resistance.’
Insulate Britain claimed that the Government’s ‘plan to decarbonise our homes fails on almost every measure’.
It said the £450million allocated to grants for heat pumps will help only 30,000 households a year, which is a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared with the 900,000 a year required by the Climate Change Committee by 2028.
A spokesman concluded: ‘Our ancestors fought a civil war to remove such tyranny from these islands and sacrificed their lives to win the rights and freedoms we now enjoy as citizens.
‘Today it is our turn, our responsibility, to rise up against tyranny. We owe that to our ancestors, to our fellow citizens and to those that come after us in the great chain of life.’
Officers from the City of London Police working to release protesters who have glued their hands to Bishopsgate today
Insulate Britain activists block a road near Southwark Bridge during their protest in London this morning
Members of the public watch as protesters from Insulate Britain cause a roadblock in the Liverpool Street area today
A protester from Insulate Britain is detained by City of London Police on Bishopsgat, in the Liverpool Street area today
A specialist police officer uses solvent to free the hand of an Insulate Britain climate activist near Southwark Bridge today
On Tuesday last week, an injunction aimed at stopping Insulate Britain protesters blocking roads in London was extended by a High Court judge.
London’s transport network was granted the order earlier this month, aimed at preventing the actvists obstructing cars on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
Members of the protest group have already been hit with three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.
During last week’s hearing, Insulate Britain members were given the chance to address the court.
Despite their campaign being on a temporary pause, they have repeatedly shown their contempt for the injunctions by disobeying them and burning papers copies.
Breaching a court order can result in a committal for contempt of court, which, if proved, may be punished with up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
The judge, Mr Justice Lavender, said last week that the injunction was extended either until a trial is held in the case or a further court order or April 8 next year.
Dr Diana Warner, from the group, said National Highways should reduce motorway speed limits to as low as 10mph when Insulate Britain protests on a carriageway.
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