Speaking to reporters en route to New York, Mr Johnson said: “I don’t think these people do any favours to their cause. I think what they do is detract from a very important moral mission that is widely shared now by the people of this country.”
Meanwhile, protests staged this morning by Insulate Britain blocking major motorways across the country have been cleared by police, with 29 people arrested in Hertfordshire and 12 arrested in Kent.
Insulate Britain has been campaigning for two policy changes from the government. They want the government to commit to insulating all social housing in Britain by 2025. They also want the government to reduce the effects of climate change, transitioning towards a full decarbonisation of society.
Last week, protests blocked several parts of the M25 in Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire, including Junction 9 in Leatherhead, and Junction 6 in Godstone. Junction 1 of the M3 was also targeted in Sunbury, bringing traffic to a halt on Friday.
The group has said that its actions will continue until the government makes a “meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes by 2030, which are among the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.”
Kent Police prevent protesters from accessing Junction 1A
Kent Police officers prevented Insulate Britain protesters from accessing the M25 carriageway at Junction 1A this morning, at the Dartford River Crossing. Twelve people were arrested.
A statement said: “At around 8.30am on Monday, 20 September 2021, Kent Police received information that people were attempting to gain access to the M25 at junction 1a, the Dartford River Crossing.
“Officers attended at 12 people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance before they were able to gain access to the carriageway. They are currently in custody.”
Protesters cleared from Junction 4 of the A1M
National Highways has said that protesters have been cleared from the demonstration that was previously blocking traffic at Junction 4 of the A1M.
Earlier, Hertfordshire Police reported that 16 people had been arrested in this incident.
Protesters cleared from M25 and A1M
Hertfordshire Police have confirmed that the M25 near Rickmansworth and the A1M are fully open after being blocked for several hours by Insulate Britain protesters.
Officers were on scene around 8.15am this morning and worked to remove the protesters – some of whom had glued themselves to the road.
More than 40 people have been arrested in connection with demonstrations in Hertfordshire and Kent today.
M25 protesters ‘adding nothing’ to climate change efforts, says Foreign Office minister
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said that the Insulate Britain protests that have been blocking the M25 over the past week are “adding nothing” to the cause of tackling climate change.
On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Cleverly said that the protests were “a completely inappropriate way of making the point they’re trying to make.”
“I know the police have been taking action, the Home Secretary has made it very, very clear that they should be taking action, the police should take action when people are taking part in criminal behaviour and that’s what I think everybody will expect.
He told GMB that the protests were “ego-driven” and added: “I think the vast, vast majority of people want to see us tackling climate change, we are tackling climate change, and the UK is one of the global leaders in this and this is very much what the Prime Minister will be taking with him as a message when he goes to the United Nations.
“We’ve got the fastest reduction of emissions of any major developed economy, the UK is actually a real leader on this.
“So I have to say, my belief is that those disruptions and protests are more ego-driven, rather than issues-driven. And I would strongly urge the people involved in it not to put themselves and others at harm by this continued disruption.”
Images of police removing protesters from motorways
Police officers were photographed removing Insulate Britain protesters from the M25 and the A1M earlier today. Officers worked to remove glue demonstrators had used to stick themselves to the motorway, while others carried protesters from the demonstration.
Insulate Britain statement ahead of Monday’s demonstration
Ahead of Monday’s demonstration along the M25, Insulate Britain released a statement on their website announcing the protest and urging the Highways Agency to reduce speed limits to allow for the group’s disruptive action.
“Insulate Britain are asking the Highways Agency to review their previous decision not to reduce speed limits, even though they had been made aware that major disruption will be taking place.
“Given that this is a standard safety procedure when hazards occur on the motorway, Insulate Britain is surprised it has not formed part of the response to the campaign.”
It added: “People’s safety during this campaign has always been our primary objective.”
The group also said they believe their traffic stopping actions to be “proportionate”, if they cause the government to fulfil its climate change obligations.
“In the context of the horror of the climate crisis we believe that it is entirely proportionate to create disruption on the motorway network if it means the UK government fulfils its legal obligation of staying below 2C which will stop the unimaginable suffering for future generations.”
M25 protest so far
Everything we know about the M25 protest so far
• Insulate Britain began blocking the M25 motorway near Junction 18 shortly after 8am this morning.
• Demonstrators were also blocking Junction 4 of the A1M around the same time.
• Hertfordshire police arrested 29 people between the two incidents.
• Kent Police prevented Insulate Britain demonstrators from accessing Junction 1A of the M25, arresting 12 people.
• In the demonstrations, protesters blocked motorways, glued themselves to the ground, and poured blue paint across the roads.
• The blockages from Junction 18 and A1m have been cleared, and traffic is now moving smoothly.
• Insulate Britain has said they will continue their disruptive efforts until the government commits to insulating 29 million “leaky homes” across the UK by 2030.
Boris Johnson criticises climate activists who block motorways
Activists who block motorways in environmental demonstrations detract from the “very important moral mission” of fighting the climate crisis, Boris Johnson has said.
The prime minister shared this criticism en route to New York, where he plans to urge world leaders to take the crisis more seriously at the United Nations General Assembly.
“We are taking powers to be able to remove protesters when they are threatening critical national infrastructure, when they are threatening to cause serious economic damage and I think that is entirely right,” he told reporters on board the RAF Voyager.
“And no, I don’t think these people do any favours to their cause. I think that what they do is detract from a very important moral mission that is widely shared now by the people of this country.”
Climate campaigners hurting their own cause with motorway blockades, says Boris Johnson
As climate activists blocked the M25 for the fourth day in a week, Boris Johnson has accused those who block motorways during environmental protests of damaging their own cause and detracting from the climate emergency, at a time when it is increasingly being taken seriously by the British people.
Political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.
Campaigners stopped traffic on M25 to highlight call to insulate homes
Boris Johnson growing ‘increasingly frustrated’ at limited global commitment to tackle the climate crisis
Boris Johnson told world leaders at a UN roundtable event that he is growing “increasingly frustrated” with their limited commitments to tackle the climate crisis.
Mr Johnson said: “Everyone nods and we all agree that something must be done.
“Yet I confess I’m increasingly frustrated that the ‘something’ to which many of you have committed is nowhere near enough.
“It is the biggest economies in the world that are causing the problem, while the smallest suffer the worst consequences.
“And while progress is being made all over the world, the gulf between what has been promised, what is actually being delivered, and what needs to happen… it remains vast.”
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