What does injunction mean? Legal remedy can stop activists but there are loopholes
What is the injunction?
The High Court order, which officially came into force this morning, prohibits protesters from ‘blocking, endangering, slowing down, preventing, or obstructing traffic on the M25’.
The National Highways won the legal remedy from the High Court last night.
The order includes verges, central reservation, on- and off-slip roads, overbridges and underbridges including the Dartford Crossing and Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.
It remains in place until 21 March 2022.
How will activists be punished?
Anyone from the group who tries to protest on the M25 will be in contempt of court and at risk of prison, and an unlimited fine.
What happens next?
Mr Justice Lavender, who granted the injunction, said there will be a further hearing on October 5 at 10.30am.
National Highways intends to return to court to extend the injunction and potentially seek additional powers of arrest.
What are the loopholes?
It is only in place for the M25, meaning protesters could get around it by taking their disruptive actions to a different road.
Last week the group targeted the A3 and the A10 in Hertfordshire.
A heroin dealer who sickened veterans with a demonstration at the Cenotaph, a vicar ‘told to protest by God’ and a teacher married to an ex-BBC bigwig are among the Insulate Britain protesters crippling the UK’s motorways, it was revealed tonight.
Former soldier Donald Bell, one of the eco warrior zealots who joined the campaign group outside the Home Office today, has a criminal past and was exposed last year by MailOnline for allegedly abusing his disabled wife.
The 65-year-old was also condemned by war heroes last year when he staged a climate change protest in support of Extinction Rebellion at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Day on November 11.
He was pictured in military fatigues as he walked over official tribute wreaths to plant his own one on the monument, emblazoned with red and white poppies and the message ‘Act Now – Climate Change Means War’.
MailOnline later revealed how he was jailed for four years in 2007 after being caught pushing his wheelchair-bound wife around the streets of Cambridge while peddling heroin at the same time.
It comes as the backgrounds of a number of his fellow Insulate Britain demonstrators were revealed tonight, including teacher Louise Lancaster, who is married to a former BBC technology director, and retired vicar Mark Coleman.
Cambridge Crown Court heard how Bell hid drugs under his late wife Heather’s blanket and tried to sell wraps of heroin to undercover police officers.
A separate hearing in 2008, when Mrs Bell was sentenced, heard that she was a victim of domestic violence and had claimed she had been sucked into drug-dealing by her ex-husband in return for his care for her.
Duncan O’Donnell, for the prosecution, told the court: ‘It would appear the modus operandi was that Heather Bell would store the heroin to be supplied underneath her blanket.’
Mrs Bell, who had been living in a hostel in Cambridge, admitted three charges of involvement in the sale of drugs to test purchase officers in the city centre in the summer of 2007.
Passing a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, along with probation supervision, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth, told her: ‘If you had been in good health you would have been going to prison for three years.’
The court heard how Mrs Bell had answered some of the phone calls when the undercover police put in orders for heroin as part of a sting operation and was using the drug herself. She is understood to have died several years ago.
Bell was back to his climate change antics today when he joined around 60 other protesters in a demonstration outside the Home Office after the Government successfully obtained a High Court injunction banning any further Insulate Britain protests on the M25.
Donald Bell was back to his climate change antics today when he joined around 60 other protesters in a demonstration outside the Home Office after the Government successfully obtained a High Court injunction banning any further Insulate Britain protests on the M25
Former soldier Donald Bell (above) who hijacked the Cenotaph Remembrance Day ceremony is a convicted heroin dealer who was accused of abusing his disabled wife, MailOnline has learned
Standing proudly to attention dressed in his military fatigues, Donald Bell’s Armistice Day actions on behalf of Extinction Rebellion (XR) caused fury from veterans after he walked over other official wreaths to plant one on behalf of the climate change extremists
The bearded veteran was photographed wearing an orange hi-viz jacket and holding up a placard reading: ‘Donald Bell Archaeologist * Insulate Britain’.
One of Bell’s relatives who asked not to be named described him last year as a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’.
The relative who asked not to be named said: ‘He and his wife Heather were always smoking weed, long before she was consigned to a wheelchair with rheumatoid arthritis.
‘Personally, I think the drugs fried his brain. None of the family agrees with his XR antics, but at least these days I think he’s managed to kick the drugs. None of us have much to do with him any more.’
Bell’s relative added at the time: ‘I don’t think the bit about domestic abuse that was mentioned in court was true – I think that was Heather trying to paint herself as the victim, as they were both heavily into drugs long before she got ill.’
Bell who survived a car bomb in Northern Ireland in 1974, staged his Cenotaph protest alongside Buddhist nurse and mother-of-two Anne White, 53, who was dressed in her NHS uniform.
He claimed afterwards that he wanted to highlight how climate change could cause more wars.
Bell said: ‘I took action knowing that I would be criticised. I knew that I would be accused of being disrespectful and hated by many for speaking out in this way.’
When MailOnline approached him about his past use of drugs, he simply said: ‘I’ve said what I wanted to say already” and closed the door of his Cambridge council flat.
His protest at the Cenotaph sparked fury among veterans who accused him of disrespecting Britain’s official memorial for all those who have fallen in conflicts.
The widowed former infantry private was a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’, according to one relative who spoke to MailOnline said
The widow of a British soldier killed by the IRA bomb which injured Bell that she wanted to give Extinction Rebellion protesters a ‘punch on the nose’ for desecrating the Cenotaph.
Dianne Rose, 74, added she would give Bell a ‘mouthful of abuse’ if she ever met him.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ‘I don’t know what gave Bell the right to do what he did. It was totally, totally wrong.
Earlier, he was also was heavily criticised by a war hero when they both appeared on Good Morning Britain.
Ben McBean, a double amputee who fought in the Afghanistan war, said he supported the move to a more sustainable future, but had harsh words for the methods deployed by XR at their Cenotaph protest.
He said: ‘Tip-toeing across poppies in your big size 10 feet to put up a wreath to talk about bl***y climate change, and so on and so forth, starting a war, that’s nonsense!
‘These guys who died a hundred years ago fighting, running towards bullets like I did myself with my colleagues, it wasn’t for climate change.
‘It was to save the country, save the world but trust me, it wasn’t for you to do what you did on Remembrance Day.’
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister also condemned the Cenotaph protest last year, saying: ‘The Cenotaph is a memorial to those who fought and died to preserve all our freedoms.
‘On today, of all days, when we join together to pay tribute to our war dead, this action was profoundly disrespectful.’
XR said in a statement: ‘Donald Bell left the army with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a time when the illness was still not fully recognised.
‘Donald was one of those people who, like so many, made mistakes and then worked hard to turn his life around.
‘Extinction Rebellion stands by him and his right to speak out about the Government’s complicity in knowingly taking us into future wars and a 4 degree world.’
It comes as the backgrounds of a number of Bell’s fellow Insulate Britain demonstrators were revealed tonight.
Among them is Mark Coleman, a retired reverend and repeat eco-protester who stepped down as vicar and borough dean of Rochdale last year.
The 61-year-old is one of four vicars to have taken part in protests by Insulate Britain – a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion.
Mr Coleman, who is said to have joined climate change group Extinction Rebellion in 2015 after the Rochdale floods, has been spotted at three protests.
He was seen at the first, on Monday 13, before returning to protest on Wednesday, 15.
Mr Coleman, who made headlines earlier this year when he vandalised Heywood and Middleton MP Chris Clarkson’s constituency office staging a two-hour sit in, was also involved in yesterday’s Insulate Britain protest at junction 10.
One former parishioner told MailOnline that Mr Coleman, a father-of-two, believed he was ‘acting on God’s will’ by protesting.
Speaking of her former vicar, she said: ‘He used to say it was God’s will for him to help save the planet, and it was up to us all to do our bit. I knew he was serious about saving the planet but have not seen him since he retired.’
Another activist spotted at multiple protests over the last week-and-a-half is Louise Lancaster. The 55-year-old from Cambridge describes herself as ‘a mother, a teacher, a world citizen’, who is ‘ready to step up for our planet and social justice’. She is married to Tim, a former technology director at the BBC.
The group – including many who have been seen at multiple demos such as Louise Lancaster – sat brandishing homemade signs with messages such as: ‘Please act now.’ The same woman was at today’s protest (left) as the M25 one yesterday (right)
Meanwhile, Louis McKechnie, a 20-year-old mechanical engineering student from Weymouth, has been seen at other protests across the country in the recent past.
This included one in Poole, Dorset in May, where he sat in the road wearing a sign reading: ‘I’m terrified to have children because of the climate crisis.’
He has been joined on the motorways by Oxford graduate and musician Mr Onley, who has worked as an English teacher at four schools, including educating a large group of Pakistani youngsters.
Originally from Exmouth, Devon, he regularly shares details of demonstrations and rallies and is a member of environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth.
Also present has been IT project manager and bike instructor Janine Eagling, who describes herself as a ‘world citizen, rebel, cyclist, walker, gardener, resourceful.’
The 50-year-old has owned a consultancy firm, now registered in Walthamstow, north London, since 2014.
London-based yoga teacher Stefania Morosi is another of the campaigners whose backgrounds have emerged this evening.
The 43-year-old, who previously studied in Italy and Sweden, describes herself as a ‘tight rope acrobat, Etymology enthusiast, self proclaimed Poet and Activist’.
Elsewhere, retired doctor and portrait painter, Bing Jones, from Sheffield, has insisted he is ‘willing to go to prison’ for the cause after being arrested four times in the space of just eight days during the protests.
Among the demonstrators is Bing Jones from Sheffield, pictured at today’s protest (left) and also at other ones on the M25 (right)
The details have emerged after the eco-zealots today thwarted an injunction that could see them chucked in jail by descending on the Home Office.
Activists descended on the government building in Marsham Street, central London, where they blocked the road, lit a fire and burned documents including their bail release papers – acts that dodge the court order which only covers the M25.
The group, including many who have been seen at multiple demos in the last week, sat brandishing homemade signs with messages such as: ‘Please act now.’
Others brazenly gave their names and jobs as Xavier Gonzalez, a trimmer, Janine Eagling, a bike instructor, and Stefania Morosi, a yoga teacher.
It comes after Grant Shapps revealed a judge granted the injunction last night following a week of chaos on major highways.
The Transport Secretary said the anarchists will face contempt of court and potentially be locked up if they continue their antics.
Home Secretary Priti Patel hailed the ‘important’ move and said it will mean ‘people can get moving’ on the busy road again.
Mr Shapps and Ms Patel had earlier vowed to crack down on the Extinction Rebellion splinter group and were said to be ‘furious’ at the protesters.
But the limited scope of the injunction was quickly realised by the eco-warriors as they simply moved to other roads the order does not cover.
A spokesman for the group said: ‘We have to move quickly. What we do, I believe, in the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity.
‘For ten days now, campaigners from Insulate Britain have been blocking motorways to urge our government to make a meaningful statement we can all trust on insulating and retrofitting the houses of this country.
‘Doing anything less would be a betrayal of any UK government’s first duty: to protect the British people. We urge you to ensure this meaningful statement is made swiftly so ordinary people can stop blocking roads.
‘But, if you believe, as you say, that our acts are outrageous and illegal, and if you believe there is no right of necessity for citizens to cause disruption to prevent the infinitely greater threat of destruction to our economy and way of life, then you have a duty to act decisively.
‘The offence of creating a public nuisance is already there to be used, you didn’t need an injunction. Take us to court, charge us, and put us in prison.’
He added: ‘Alternatively, if you think we have a case, you have a responsibility to the country to at least meet and talk with us.
‘And you will find we are entirely reasonable in our demands which will save the lives of 8500 from fuel poverty this winter. We want to stop the roadblocks as much as you.
‘The climate crisis is the biggest threat to Britain in its long history. It requires decisive action. The country is waiting to see if you have what it takes.’
Activists blocked off a road, lit a fire and burned documents in the central London street – which dodges the court order that only covers the M25. Left: An activist at the Home Office today. Right: The same one on the M25 yesterday
It comes after Grant Shapps revealed a judge granted the injunction last night following a week of chaos on major highways. Pictured: A protester seen today (left) and on the M25 (right)
Announcing the injunction via Twitter this morning, Mr Shapps said: ‘Invading a motorway is reckless and puts lives at risk.’ Pictured: The same protester today (left) and on the M25 (right)
One man brags about being arrested four times for ‘mourning for life on Earth’ today (left, having also appeared last week (right)
Insulate Britain indicated that they will continue blocking the M25 despite the injunction. It said in a statement earlier today that ‘right now our campaign goes on’
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the ‘important injunction’ would mean ‘people can get moving again’ on the M25. She added: ‘We will not tolerate lives being put at risk. Those who continue to do so risk imprisonment’
Announcing the injunction via Twitter this morning, Mr Shapps said: ‘Invading a motorway is reckless and puts lives at risk.
‘I asked National Highways to seek an injunction against M25 protestors which a judge granted last night. Effective later today, activists will face contempt of court with possible imprisonment if they flout.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the ‘important injunction’ would mean ‘people can get moving again’ on the M25. She added: ‘We will not tolerate lives being put at risk. Those who continue to do so risk imprisonment.’
But Insulate Britain indicated that they will continue blocking the M25 despite the injunction. It said in a statement earlier today that ‘right now our campaign goes on’.
The two Cabinet ministers last night vowed to get tough with the protesters, revealing in the Daily Mail they had instructed officials to sought the injunction.
Home Secretary Miss Patel and Transport Secretary Mr Shapps condemned the ‘arrogant’ protesters and promised decisive action to stop them.
The injunction was requested by National Highways in the High Court. It means protesters will face arrest and a potential instant jail term for contempt of court. The legal case is likely to focus on the danger to road users.
A source said: ‘Priti and Grant are furious that the lives of the law-abiding majority are continuing to be disrupted by the actions of an extreme minority.’
‘They 100 per cent back National Highways to take legal action against these individuals to ensure those who the police arrest are not released on bail and able to return to disrupting and endangering people’s lives in this way.’
The topic was raised in the Commons during PMQ’s today, as Labour MP Steve McCabe said: ‘This is grossly dangerous and irresponsible behaviour and I hope these people will come to their senses.’
He suggested ‘those who are successfully prosecuted receive a sentence which ensures they’re put to work helping to insulate the homes of those less fortunate than themselves’.
Eco-zealots from Insulate Britain have descended on the Home Office after the government got an injunction that could see them locked up
They set up a small cauldron where they set fire to documents with indistinct writing on them
They are pictured chucking documents into the flames during the bizarre demonstrating today
Activists blocked off a road outside the central London building in their latest brazen protest
One of the demonstrators claps as another watches on during the latest brazen protest today
A group of elderly men sat in the road brandishing homemade signs with messages such as: ‘Please act now’
Their latest stunt saw them hog the road while being watched closely by security guards from the building
Metropolitan Police officers stood by and watched as the demonstrators continued to sit on the road
Justice minister Kit Malthouse said: ‘What a splendid idea.’ He said the Government is investing ‘significant amounts’ encouraging people to take ‘green measures’ in their homes.
He said: ‘I think putting some of those individuals towards that effort – more than happy for them to come and have a look at the insulation in my roof which, you know, could always do with some improvement possibly. I think that’s a jolly good idea.’
Mr Malthouse also said in a separate answer that currently ‘unfortunately the penalty that attaches to those offences (of blocking a public highway) is quite weak, shall we say’.
He added: ‘In the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill that is coming there will be a strengthening of police powers to deal with this issue’.
Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse said: ‘I want to express my support to every single police officer who helps to keep us safe and keep public order, and their safety is essential.
‘But I also understand the side of the protesters who really feel that climate change is a threat to their future and we must make sure that the fundamental right to protest and assembly is protected. I worry that injunctions such as this will serve to pit the police against protesters.’
Tory MP Huw Merriman said: ‘The real tragedy of these morons on the motorway is that they set the cause of those of us who are trying to advance decarbonisation in the transport system back, and they also put lives at risk.’
He welcomed the minister’s statement and asked if the injunctions are not successful to look at legislation and linking fines to economic damage caused.
Conservative MP Sir Robert Syms welcomed the action taken, and said: ‘It’s vital that we nip this in the bud.
‘These people are dangerous and the consequence isn’t necessarily those who can see them, it’s for those miles back when the traffic comes to an instant halt could well be faced with death or injury.’
He added: ‘Let people demonstrate in a safe way but not on our roads.’ Conservative Mr Philip Hollobone called the protesters ‘eco-maniacs’.
He supported the action being taken and said ‘there’s no greater supporter of the police than I, but I have been disturbed at how long it’s taken the police to remove some of these protesters, especially in the early protests. I thought it was already an offence to block the Queen’s highway?’
DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: ‘I congratulate the Government on finally taking action against these hypocritical highway hoodlums who have caused misery to many people.’
Mr Malthouse called the protest ‘selfish’ and said ‘the great sadness is that it diminishes, not enhances the enthusiasm for the cause for which these protesters seemingly want to promote but are, by their actions, damaging.’
Priti Patel (pictured in the Commons on Tuesday) and Grant Shapps instructed officials to seek an injunction against Insulate Britain
Louise Lancaster, a teacher, and another woman stand on Marsham Street in Westminster as they protest outside the Home Office today
Supporters hold placards and speak to the assembled media in what they called a ‘press conference’ on Wednesday afternoon
Metropolitan Police officers stand in formation as they watch the demonstrators outside the building, but do not intervene
Officers organise themselves around the corner from the protest on Marsham Street in the centre of the capital on Wednesday
Supporters hold placards and speak to the assembled media as Insulate Britain hold a press conference at the Home Office
A protester from Insulate Britain talks to a journalist from Guido with a microphone during the demonstration outside the Home Office today
Senior police officers said the risk to motorists was now ‘very high’ – yet the four forces dealing with the protests have charged only one activist. Pictured: The Home Office today
Do YOU know any of the protesters?
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Conservative MP Lee Anderson called for the police to have a zero-tolerance approach towards the protesters who have been blocking sections of the M25.
He told MPs: ‘This injunction is welcomed news. Does the minister agree with me the police should now adopt a zero-tolerance approach and as soon one as of these morons steps foot on the motorway they should be carted off in an electric police van and locked up in a fully insulated cell?’
Members on both sides of the House erupted in laughter. Mr Malthouse replied: ‘As it is usually the case in his forthright and direct manner, he puts his finger on the button.
‘We are now seeing extremely swift action, police arriving on the scene within minutes. He will understand that it is tough for them to patrol the entirety of the motorway network and be there as fast as they can.
‘I know in Kent, protesters were intercepted before they even got on the carriageway. But where do we want our police officers? It is in our neighbourhood, on our streets fighting crime?
‘We don’t want them patrolling the network, looking for these people and hopefully, this injunction will mean they can go back to do the job we expect of them.’
Activists were filmed making a death-defying dash on to the M25 just before 8am yesterday near Cobham in Surrey. Drivers were forced to slam on their brakes.
Some of the hardliners have been arrested five times over the past ten days, only to be released to return to block the motorway again.
Dr Bing Jones, who has been detained by police four times, told the BBC: ‘I accept that I put my life at risk. I don’t really accept that we have put other lives at risk.
‘The disruption weighs heavily on me but it is necessary. Insulating houses is by far the most cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions within the UK and it could bring millions of people out of fuel poverty.’
Senior police officers said the risk to motorists was now ‘very high’ – yet the four forces dealing with the protests have charged only one activist.
Surrey Police said it first received a call at 7.57am and arrived on the scene in three minutes. The protesters held up banners saying ‘Insulate Britain’ and poured blue paint on the road before they were dragged away.
By 8.17am both carriageways were cleared and open, with 38 arrests being made.
Insulate Britain chiefs say protests could still continue despite injunction
Insulate Britain chiefs have suggested protests could continue despite the Government getting an injunction against the group.
Grant Shapps revealed a judge granted the legal remedy last night following a week of chaos on major highways.
The Transport Secretary said the anarchists will face contempt of court and potentially be locked up if they continue their antics.
Insulate Britain spokeswoman Zoe Cohen was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the injunction will stop the protests from taking place.
She replied: ‘The people taking part in these actions understand that the risks they are taking are because that we have tried everything else to make the Government protect us from the predicted impacts of climate chaos.
‘That involves the loss of all that we cherish, our society, our way of life and law and order.
‘We’re calling for the installation and whole house retrofitting of social housing by 2025 and all homes by 2030, because this is the most effective way to reduce emissions, save lives from fuel poverty.
Among those involved was Sue Parfitt, 79, a retired vicar who had already been arrested at least once.
An Insulate Britain spokesman said the group was aware of only one activist in custody – possibly over a breach of bail – and said no charges had been brought.
They said the rise in gas prices ‘increased the urgency’ for change and the group would end its campaign in exchange for a ‘meaningful commitment’ to its demands for improved insulation in UK homes.
Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman of Surrey Police said the group had become ‘reckless’ and ‘a change from what we have seen recently’.
While it is not possible to remand people in custody for obstructing the highway, he said the force was willing to ‘use any kind of option to prevent crime happening’.
Other activists have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, public nuisance and causing danger to road users.
‘If we can find ways in the existing legal framework to prevent people coming back and repeatedly offending, we will absolutely use it, that is our aim, but there are some constraints,’ Mr Westerman added.
‘But we are looking at all of our options, and there may be some other things in the coming days and weeks that we are able to do that helps us in our in achieving our objectives.’
His colleague Chief Inspector Mike Hodder added that the ‘risk is very high when you are messing around on a motorway’.
A spokesman for the Met Police said: ‘Those arrested have been released under investigation whilst the crime team fully investigate all lines of inquiry.’
A Surrey Police spokesman confirmed no one had been charged over the protests.
Hertfordshire Police said it had made no charges but added 32 people had been issued with community protection notices, which can lead to fines if not breached.
Kent Police said Alexander Rodger, 31, from Brighton, had been charged with criminal damage.
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: ‘Offences committed at a protest are often summary only and if the police have sufficient evidence they can charge those themselves without the need to come to us.’
The activists are treated individually and the offences for which each can be held are relatively minor and in most cases do not carry a custodial sentence.
This means that – even if they are charged – they will not be remanded in custody.
Ringleader of Insulate Britain’s M25 eco mob STORMS off GMB after clash with Susanna Reid and admitting he’s failed to insulate his OWN home
This is the moment an irate eco-warrior storms off national television after being challenged on his group’s disruptive M25 protests.
Insulate Britain ringleader Liam Norton walked off Good Morning Britain mid-debate after a fiery clash with presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley today.
The electrician, whose eco-mob are demanding the Government pay to insulate social housing, was irked after being called out on claims his own home is not properly insulated.
He was also asked if he was worried about members of the group potentially being struck by a car while protesting on the M25 – to which he replied ‘it’s terrible isn’t it’.
But as the debate raged Norton became visibly frustrated, before eventually standing up and walking off the set.
As he left, Madeley said: ‘Bye,’ before going on to mock Norton’s comparison of the group’s support to that of Winston Churchill.
Insulate Britain ringleader Liam Norton walked off Good Morning Britain mid-debate after a fiery clash with presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley.
The electrician, whose eco-mob are demanding the Government pay to insulate social housing, was irked after he was called out on claims his own home is not properly insulated
Eco-warrior Liam Norton’s south-west London home is single-glazed, has no cavity wall insulation and uses gas central heating, reports the Sun
Norton, an electrician, is one of the leading figures in Insulate Britain – an Extinction Rebellion off-shoot campaigning the Government to reduce home heating emissions to zero.
The group have infuriated motorists by blocking the M25 on five occasions in a bid to put pressure on the Government to pay for all social housing to be fully insulated.
However it was revealed last week that Norton’s own property is not insulated.
Norton’s property is owned by a housing association – and would be the sort of property he is campaigning to improve.
But asked why he had not insulated the property himself, he said: ‘Whether or not my home is insulated doesn’t change the fact that millions of people’s homes are not insulated.’
His response sparked a bemused Susannah Reid, to ask: ‘So you are saying you would risk your life, your life, for Insulate Britain, but you aren’t going to insulate your own home?’
But Norton replied: ‘What we are talking about is the future of our country. Our country is going to be destroyed if we don’t get this sorted out.’
Asked again why he had not insulated his home. He replied: ‘You know insulation costs thousands, tens of thousands.’
Asked if he could not afford this, Norton said: ‘No, what I’m saying is millions of people around the country cannot afford to do it.’
We WILL use jail to end this motorway chaos: The protesters have broken the law and alienated the public, the Government will be giving police powers to stop such guerrilla tactics, say PRITI PATEL and GRANT SHAPPS
Every year, millions of people join legal, peaceful demonstrations in this country to promote a cause they believe in, without harming the public or the environment around them. They have a right to do so.
But the Insulate Britain activists who have brought large sections of the M25 to a standstill in recent weeks have achieved the precise opposite.
They have broken the law, undermined the cause they believe in, alienated the public, and created extra pollution, in one of the most self-defeating environmental protests this country has ever seen, particularly as we all strive so hard to rebuild after 18 months of the pandemic.
Insulate Britain activists have broken the law, undermined the cause they believe in, alienated the public, and created extra pollution, in one of the most self-defeating environmental protests this country has ever seen, writes PRITI PATEL (pictured)
Punishing motorists to make a point about home insulation makes absolutely no sense at all, writes GRANT SHAPPS (pictured)
Transport is so crucial to that recovery. With every day that passes, our roads and railways are helping more businesses to grow, and more people to find jobs.
Punishing motorists to make a point about home insulation makes absolutely no sense at all.
As one van driver caught up in the chaos told a protester: ‘You are making people hate you.’
The police have our full support to take decisive action and we’re working with National Highways to take legal action against the protesters to ensure they cannot keep disrupting and endangering people’s lives in this way.
We are giving them powers to better manage such guerrilla tactics in future.
In the medium-term, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will put public nuisance on a statutory footing, ensuring there are appropriate sentences for the harm caused.
People will continue to be able to make their voices heard without disrupting the lives of others. Even before the most recent demonstrations, the Metropolitan Police said that the actions of Extinction Rebellion – of which Insulate Britain is an offshoot – had cost the UK taxpayer a staggering £50million.
The events of recent weeks – including the cleaning of blue paint which protesters pointlessly poured on to the road – will add to that already significant drain on public funds.
It is also ironic that many of the cars that have been caught up in the queues and congestion around the M25 are electric, with zero carbon emissions.
There are now over half a million such cars in the UK, benefitting from one of the largest rapid charging networks in Europe.
Police arrive on the scene as protesters from the Insulate Britain pressure group block a roundabout near Stansted Airport last week
While Insulate Britain inflicts misery in its campaign of gesture politics, this government is getting on with the job of decarbonising our transport system by 2050.
Thousands of new charge points will encourage motorists to go electric in the coming decade as we phase out diesel and petrol. It is changes like this that make the difference, not posturing by a tiny minority who are arrogant enough to believe only they care about climate change.
We all agree that climate change must be tackled. But this sort of behaviour achieves nothing.
It puts drivers at risk – and idling cars actually increase pollution. While this group of eco-warriors parade for the cameras, we are getting on with the job of delivering our ambitious targets.
We will not stand by and allow a small minority of selfish demonstrators to cause massive and dangerous disruption to the lives of the hard-working majority.