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Protesters block M25 for the third time this week as police make swift arrests

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Climate protesters blocked the M25 for the third time this week.

Essex Police, Surrey Police and Kent Police all confirmed they had responded to incidents.

Footage from Essex appears to show officers have taken a tougher stance and swiftly made arrests, however, a tweet from protest group Insulate Britain shows a road in an unknown location was blocked.

Police appear to have made arrests at Brentwood in Essex. Pic: LBC
Image: Police appear to have made arrests at Brentwood in Essex. Pic: LBC

BBC Radio Surrey reported that the M25 anticlockwise sliproad at junction 9 was blocked, with two lanes of the motorway temporarily closed causing long tailbacks.

However, at 10.15am Surrey police reported both junction 1 of the M3 and junction 9 of the M25 had been cleared.

The force said 14 people were arrested on the M25, with a further 10 arrested on the M3.

Kent Police said 10 people were arrested where the B1273, in Swanley, and junction 3 of the M25 meet.

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They also said that shortly after 9am they were made aware of protesters at junction 1 of the M3 and made further arrests.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet: “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.”

Insulate Britain caused huge queues of traffic this week, with tens of thousands of drivers delayed after they blocked the roads on Monday and Wednesday during rush hour.

It comes hours after they were branded “selfish” and “dangerous” by the home secretary for causing chaos on the UK’s busiest motorway.

On Monday, police forces arrested 78 people, with a further 71 arrested on Wednesday.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and there will always be space for legitimate groups to make their voices heard.

“But 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.

“The guerrilla tactics used by Insulate Britain detract from their cause and I know the public will agree that the scenes on the M25 this week were completely unacceptable.

“The police have our full support. They must uphold the law and take decisive action. This kind of disruption is dangerous and takes police away from communities where they are needed most.

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M25 at standstill after climate protest on Wednesday

“That’s exactly why we are giving police the powers to better manage such highly disruptive demonstrations in future.

“The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will introduce a new offence of public nuisance, ensuring there are appropriate sentences for the harm caused.”

Image: Protesters blocked traffic on Monday and Wednesday

On Wednesday, some protesters went as far as gluing themselves to the road to prevent police from being able to remove them.

Earlier this week, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “These actions are not only highly disruptive to those going to work and transporting vital goods, but are putting lives at risk on a busy motorway.

“Not to mention the resulting traffic delays will only add to vehicle emissions.”

Edmund King, president of motoring insurance group AA, added that a thermal insulation engineer was prevented from going to work after being stuck in the traffic queue during Wednesday’s blockade.

He said: “Whilst most people understand the need to take action on climate change, these motorway blockade tactics are just backfiring as they are alienating the working public stuck in this chaos and subsequently pumping out more emissions.

“It is somewhat ironic that thermal insulation engineers trying to insulate Britain were stuck in the congestion caused by Insulate Britain.”