Nationwide injunction against Insulate Britain protesters blocking key roads

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking a road near Canary Wharf in east London. Climate group Insulate Britain had pledged to restart its road-blocking protests despite the risk of its members being jailed or fined. Picture date: Monday October 25, 2021.
Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking a road near Canary Wharf in east London

A new nationwide injunction has been granted against Insulate Britain protesters which means they could be jailed if they block any motorway or major A road across England.

The Department for Transport on Monday said the High Court had granted the interim injunction against climate change demonstrators who cause disruption on “any part of the Strategic Road Network in England”.

It comes after the group renewed its roadblock campaign on Monday, bringing traffic on the streets of the City of London and Canary Wharf to a standstill.

The new injunction, secured by National Highways, bans protesters from obstructing traffic and prevents access to 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads, according to the Department for Transport.

It also prohibits activists from gluing themselves to the road, damaging the road surface and abandoning their vehicles.

Protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Canary Wharf

Insulate Britain protesters who breach the injunction could be in contempt of court and face imprisonment and an unlimited fine, the department said.

In a tweet, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Insulate Britain are back, risking lives & ruining journeys. 3 specific injunctions are already in place, but today I instructed @NationalHways to apply for an injunction covering the entire strategic road network – tonight this has been granted on a temp basis by the High Court.

“The long term solution lies in changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, giving additional powers against disruptive protests which target critical national infrastructure. This includes unlimited fines & prison sentences of up to 6 months for obstructing highways.”

The new injunction comes on top of three earlier injunctions taken out by National Highways, including one covering the M25.

More than 100 activists have already been served with court papers in relation to these orders.

Duncan Smith, acting executive director of operations at National Highways, said: “This new injunction covering the Strategic Road Network across the country is another step forward in helping to keep these reckless and dangerous protests away from our network and endangering peoples’ lives.

“We continue to serve court papers on those who have breached the previous injunctions.”

Earlier on Monday, more than 50 people were arrested after Insulate Britain protesters took to the streets of the City of London and Canary Wharf at around 8am on Monday, disrupting rush-hour traffic.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police attended to negotiate with activists, who sat in the road at the junction of Bishopsgate and Camomile Street, close to Liverpool Street.

The Met said 53 people were arrested at protest sites in Bishopsgate, Upper Thames Street, Limehouse Street and Southwark Bridge.

Insulate Britain, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, wants the Government to insulate all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions and has been staging protests for several weeks including on motorways and at the Port of Dover.

The group blocked roads on 14 days over the five weeks to October 14, with activists often gluing their hands to the carriageway to increase the length of time it took for police to remove them.

The demonstrations have led to clashes with the public, including drivers who have dragged protesters out of the road.

The protests on Monday were the organisation’s first since temporarily halting activities for 10 days from October 14.