Insulate Britain: Transport for London granted injunction against climate protesters

Court order follows weeks of demonstrations on motorways to force action on climate change

Conrad Duncan
Friday 08 October 2021 23:37
Climate activists block busy London roundabout
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Transport for London (TfL) has been granted a High Court injunction against protesters from the climate action group Insulate Britain in a bid to stop them from obstructing traffic.

The capital’s transport network said on Friday that the ban applied to 14 locations around the city, including some of its busiest roads.

It came after protesters blocked motorway junctions for the 12th time in the past four weeks as part of efforts to pressure the government into insulating all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions.

Insulate Britain activists said that about 40 demonstrators were involved in blocking the junction of the M25 motorway and the A501 at Old Street roundabout in London at rush hour on the last working day of the week, prompting long queues of traffic and angry clashes with drivers.

“The safety of people travelling on the capital's roads is our number one priority,” a TfL spokesperson said.

“We have been granted an injunction this afternoon by the High Court which bans protesters from engaging in activities that obstruct traffic at 14 locations.

“This will help to protect London's road network and everybody using it.”

They added: “We will continue to work closely with the police and other highway authorities in London to manage the impact on the road network, and would encourage people to check their journeys before they travel.”

A spokesperson for London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday he supported the move to block further protests, arguing that the injunction would help to keep the capital’s road network “safe”.

“The Mayor passionately believes in the right to protest, but it must always be done peacefully, safely and within the law,” they said.

Those who break the injunction could be found to be in contempt of court, but prosecutions usually take several months, meaning there is no immediate impact on the protests.

The Metropolitan Police said that it arrested 16 people on suspicion of obstructing the highway at Friday's motorway protest - which saw demonstrators glue themselves to the carriageway - and 19 at Old Street roundabout.

Previous injunctions granted for the M25 and the Port of Dover last month have failed to deter protesters, while Insulate Britain has admitted that its actions are “in breach” of the orders.

“If governments don't act soon to reduce emissions, we face a terrifying situation,” Tracey Mallagan, a spokesperson for the group, said.

“We won't be worrying about shortages of pasta or loo rolls because law and order breaks down pretty quickly when there is not enough food to go round.”

Additional reporting by PA

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