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Insulate Britain activists block part of two motorways in tenth day of protests

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Climate change activists from Insulate Britain have blocked part of two motorways as they stage their tenth day of protests in the past three weeks.

The group, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, said about 30 of its demonstrators had blocked roundabouts at junction 3 of the M4 near Heathrow Airport, west London, and junction 1 of the M1 at Brent Cross, north London.

Drivers stuck in long queues of traffic have beeped their horns in frustration.

Insulate Britain said the demonstrators include eight people who were released from police custody on Thursday after blocking the M25 at junction 30 in Essex, and others who were arrested earlier this week.

The group wants the government to insulate and retrofit homes across the UK to cut climate emissions.

It has pledged to continue its actions until the government makes “a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030”.

Insulate Britain is calling on the government to insulate and retrofit homes to cut climate emissions
Image: Insulate Britain is calling on the government to insulate and retrofit homes to cut climate emissions
Insulate Britain activists are stopping traffic as they call for the government to help cut climate emissions
Image: Insulate Britain activists are stopping traffic as they call for the government to help cut climate emissions

The group said in a statement: “It’s incomprehensible that the government is continuing to delay action on home insulation when we urgently need to cut our carbon emissions, eliminate fuel poverty and help hard-working families with their rising energy bills.

More on Insulate Britain

“Added to which industry is crying out for the government to show some leadership and get behind a national retrofitting strategy. Come on Boris: get on with the job.”

The government obtained an injunction last week which means anyone blocking the M25 could be found to be in contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

People arrested during previous protests are among those blocking motorways today
Image: People arrested during previous protests are among those blocking motorways today

Insulate Britain admitted that its actions this week “are in breach” of the injunction.

Sir Stephen House, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee on Thursday that he is concerned police forces are under so much pressure to quickly clear the protests that “officers are putting their lives at risk”.

He went on: “The most recent one I saw had officers running between articulated lorries that were moving on the main carriageway of the M25.

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“We cannot be doing that. We cannot put people’s lives at risk. My officers’ lives at risk and indeed the demonstrators’ lives at risk.

“We have to look out for that first.

“But we have been very quick in moving these people and arresting them.”

He added: “They started off on the slip roads, which is bad enough, but we’ve now moved on to the main carriageways of the M25, which is absolute lunacy.”