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Action is FINALLY being taken to imprison a dozen eco-fanatics from Insulate Britain

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More than a dozen activists from Insulate Britain will finally face trial – and possibly jail – within days, the Mail has understood.

Just over a month after the initial roadblocks brought chaos to the highways, officials will ask the judges to take action against the eco-fanatics.

There is growing dismay among ministers at the slow pace of action on National Highways, formerly known as Highways England, and at police making arrests only to release protesters hours later.

But the final details are now being added to legal documents that could finally put Insulate Britain protesters out of action.

The number of activists targeted is estimated to be between 12 and 15. The group is one of 113 people named at a junction of national highways they will be accused of violating.

A government source said: “We have identified a significant number of protesters who have violated at least one of the bans we have.

The latest details are now being added to legal documents to take a dozen Insulate Britain protesters to court after they were caught violating the National Highways bans on blocking motorways and A-roads in London. There is no suggestion that those photographed are in violation of the orders

There is growing dismay among ministers at the slow pace of action on National Highways, formerly known as Highways England, and at police making arrests only to release protesters hours later

There is growing dismay among ministers at the slow pace of action on National Highways, formerly known as Highways England, and at police making arrests only to release protesters hours later

On Tuesday, protesters showed their contempt for the law by setting fire to copies of the warrant papers outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

On Tuesday, protesters showed their contempt for the law by setting fire to copies of the warrant papers outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

“National Highways attorneys are now working with the police to gather evidence to bring these people to justice.

“We hope to get this to court later this week or early next week.”

However, the process is fraught with difficulties.

National Highways will have to file a case against the activists with the Supreme Court, paperwork will have to be issued to each activist and a date for a trial will have to be set.

If found guilty of violating a ban, activists could face up to two years in prison for contempt of court.

On Tuesday, protesters showed their contempt for the law by setting fire to copies of the warrant papers outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Members of the group have vowed to continue their disruptive protests, usually clinging to the road at busy highway interchanges – despite the risk of unlimited fines and up to two years in prison.

Insulate Britain is run by leader Liam Norton, whose own house was found to have no cavity wall insulation.

Other leaders in the secret group include Extinction Rebellion veteran David McKenny and Cathy Eastburn, whose husband turned out to be Ben Plowden, a director of Transport for London. He has stepped down from his £170,000-a-year role.

Police officers remove activists from Insulate Britain for blocking junction 31 of the M25 earlier today

Police officers remove activists from Insulate Britain for blocking junction 31 of the M25 earlier today

Angry motorists grab banners from protesters as Insulate Britain activists block parts of Thurrock this morning

Angry motorists grab banners from protesters as Insulate Britain activists block parts of Thurrock this morning

Angry motorists protest protesters as Insulate Britain activists block an intersection in Thurrock this morning

Angry motorists protest protesters as Insulate Britain activists block an intersection in Thurrock this morning

A High Court hearing was held to expand the range of bans banning them from the M25, Dover Port and the major A roads around London.

Another hearing will be held next week.

A previously announced plan to use a comprehensive injunction against Insulate Britain is said to have reached the legal buffers.

Officials had said they planned to obtain a “counter mundum injunction” with far more restrictive conditions that would be easier to enforce.

However, lawyers told ministers to list the “essential nature” of every single highway and A-road in the country in order to obtain such a ban.

In the face of such an administrative nightmare, the idea is now thought to have been ditched.

The Mail reported last month how Insulate Britain plans to fill UK prisons with hundreds of eco-activists in a bid to create a ‘political crisis’ for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

They believe that a significant number of activists jailed could light a powder keg over wider disorder ahead of the Cop26 environmental summit in Glasgow next month.

In September, activist Shel MacDonagh said 300 people should jail themselves to force the government to make concessions to the group.

“We need this campaign to go through, and we think we need to get through jail on the margins of 300 people so we can have a chance at this. [a government concession] happen,” she said.

Priti Patel, the interior minister, has announced plans for a new type of Asbo to deal with the protests.

Criminal Disruption Prevention Orders – also known as “Asbos for crusties” – are intended to be enforced faster than injunctions.

A specific new crime will also be instituted to counter the protests of Insulate Britain and its parent group Extinction Rebellion.

It is criminalized to ‘interfere with critical national infrastructure’, including trunk roads, railways, seaports, power plants and newspaper printing presses.

The new crime carries a prison term of up to six months.

However, both new powers will need to be approved by parliament and are not expected to come into effect until spring or summer next year.

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