13 arrests after protesters block motorways again

13 people were arrested as police cleared the protest Credit: Insulate Britain

Climate group Insulate Britain is staging its 10th day of protests in the past three weeks. The organisation said around 30 of its activists blocked roundabouts at Junction 3 of the M4 near Heathrow Airport, west London, and Junction 1 of the M1 at Brent Cross, north London.

Drivers stuck in long queues of traffic beeped their horns in frustration.

The Metropolitan Police said the protesters blocked the M4 at around 8.27am. Officers were on the scene in 13 minutes and the road was cleared by 9am, with 13 people arrested for obstruction and conspiracy to commit public nuisance.

Insulate Britain said the demonstrators include eight people released from police custody on Thursday after blocking the M25 at Junction 30 in Essex, and others who were arrested earlier this week.

It has pledged to continue its actions until the Government makes "a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain's 29 million leaky homes by 2030".

The group said in a statement: "It's incomprehensible that the Government is continuing to delay action on home insulation when we urgently need to cut our carbon emissions, eliminate fuel poverty and help hard-working families with their rising energy bills.

"Added to which industry is crying out for the Government to show some leadership and get behind a national retrofitting strategy. Come on Boris: get on with the job."

The Government obtained an injunction last week which means anyone blocking the M25 could be found to be in contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Insulate Britain admitted that its actions this week "are in breach" of the injunction.

Hugh Bladon, founding member of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: "What we need now is firm action from the police before someone gets killed.

"They've made their point, now go away and get this country working properly. They're bang on about insulating houses though.

"They need to let this country get back to living normally. They need to be seen by the courts, and they need to be dealt with - you can't allow this to go on."

Sir Stephen House, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee on Thursday he is concerned police forces are under so much pressure to quickly clear the protests that "officers are putting their lives at risk".

He went on: "The most recent one I saw had officers running between articulated lorries that were moving on the main carriageway of the M25.

"We cannot be doing that. We cannot put people's lives at risk. My officers' lives at risk and indeed the demonstrators' lives at risk.

"We have to look out for that first.

"But we have been very quick in moving these people and arresting them."

He added: "They started off on the slip roads, which is bad enough, but we've now moved on to the main carriageways of the M25, which is absolute lunacy."