HYPOCRISY OF THE M25 ECO-ZEALOTS
Blockade chaos led to trapped cars belching out more fumes Driver tries to clear hold-up... then cops drag HIM away...
CLIMATE warriors who blockaded the M25 were last night accused of hypocrisy as critics warned their stunt led to an increase in vehicle emissions.
Furious motorists were trapped in cars for hours yesterday as protesters from Insulate Britain brought rush-hour chaos to Britain’s busiest motorway.
Dozens of activists from the group – which campaigns for cheaper and better home insulation – blocked five junctions from 8am, bringing traffic to a standstill in Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Surrey and near Heathrow. Insulate Britain, whose members have been linked to Extinction Rebellion, tweeted it was ‘disrupting the M25’ to ‘demand the Government insulate Britain’.
It said it had carried out the action after ministers ignored demands it sent in August to commit to improve home insulation. The group vowed the disruption was ‘just the start’ until the Government made a meaningful commitment to change. AA president Edmund King last night criticised the stunt, saying: ‘This action is not only incredibly dangerous in potentially putting lives at risk but it also backfires in environmental terms by causing more delays and more vehicle emissions.
‘These are some of the busiest sections of the M25 where tens of thousands of drivers will have been affected and it has a negative knock-on effect on economic activity.’ Police dealing with the chaos – including at junction 14 for Heathrow’s Terminal 4 – were criticised for taking up to four hours to arrest demonstrators.
In one incredible scene caught on video, officers in Kent even appeared to protect an activist from an irate driver who attempted to move the protesters himself. He was dragged away by police. Another driver tried to remove a group in Hertfordshire. Around 50 police guarded the activists and set up a diversion.
A total of 92 people were later arrested in connection with the stunt. But officers were accused of being too slow to act and many questioned why it took until midday to break up protests that began at 8am. One critic tweeted a video of the chaos with the message: ‘Public servants stand by.’
Another wrote: ‘The irony is we are thermal insulation engineers (laggers) who have been insulating Britain for decades but can’t get to work because of Insulate Britain protests.’ Furious motorist Sam, 37, from Bromley, south-east London, said he was stuck in the traffic with his two children for three hours. He insisted: ‘I am seething at how irresponsible and selfish their demonstration is.
‘It is ill-considered and poorly executed. I am all for change and reducing fuel poverty but there are more sensible ways to lobby and protest.’ The Metropolitan Police said it took action ‘to ensure disruption was minimised’ while the Hertfordshire force insisted it ‘quickly mobilised resources to the scene’. Last night Extinction Rebellion said: ‘This is nothing to do with Extinction Rebellion’.
Obstruction of a UK road ‘without lawful authority or excuse’ is an offence punishable by up to six months in prison.
Police guidance stresses that officers should seek to facilitate