Delays continue in Dartford after Just Stop Oil protesters climb QEII bridge

Watch: Footage released by Just Stop Oil shows protestors at the top of the QEII bridge.

Drivers are experiencing severe delays as a major road bridge linking Essex and Kent remains closed after a pair of Just Stop Oil protesters climbed up the structure.

Just Stop Oil confirmed it is behind the closure the QEII bridge, causing traffic chaos which ran into the evening rush hour across Kent, Essex and parts of Greater London.

Essex Police closed the bridge shortly before 4am on Monday morning, leading to long delays on the M25 clockwise and anti-clockwise.

The force said two people are currently at height and is warning the bridge may be closed for some time.

Posting on Twitter, one of the protesters said: "We're just hanging off some ropes to make it more interesting."

Tonight, Highways England is warning drivers of severe delays on the diversion rote in both directions, with 2.8 miles of congestion anti-clockwise, and 4.4 miles clockwise.

  • Abigail Bracken reports from near the QEII Bridge at Dartford.

As of 7:30am Just Stop Oil claimed responsibility, saying it expects the bridge to be shut 'for at least 24 hours'.

Drivers are being warned of long delays - with one person posting a video on Twitter showing an ambulance struggling to get through the queues.

  • Video from @joeyat

Southbound traffic is being diverted via the East Bore Tunnel, with National Highways officers on scene to assist traffic.

Northbound crossing traffic is confined to using the West bore Dartford tunnel only with a height restriction of 4'8m (15 '9").

One of the protestors took a selfie on the bridge. Credit: ITV News Meridian / Just Stop Oil
Traffic is queueing for several miles on the M25 in both directions. Credit: National Highways

In a press release issued by the group, the individuals involved were named as Morgan Trowland and another who only identifies as Marcus.

Both have said they will not climb down from the bridge until the government 'stops all new oil'.

It is the 17th day of action by the group, which has claimed responsibility for various acts of disruption in recent days.

New pictures released by Just Stop Oil show a bright orange flag draped across the Dartford Crossing Credit: Just Stop Oil

It has led to traffic chaos, with National Highways warning of long delays of up to 2 hours on the anti-clockwise carriageway with around 6 miles of congestion.

There are also long delays of 2 hours above normal journey times on the clockwise carriageway with around 5 miles of congestion.

It is urging motorists to see an alternative route wherever possible as delays build.

Meanwhile traffic monitoring service, TomTom, is reporting queues of nearly 90 minutes. It also reports that the bridge will be shut until 01:00 on Tuesday 18 October.

There are also reports of congestion on local roads such as the A13 and A2, with traffic queues reported past Gravesend towards J1 on the M2.

There are long delays in the area. Credit: TomTom

In a statement Essex Police said: "Our officers are continuing to work to resolve the issue on the Dartford Crossing after two people climbed up onto high cables early this morning.

"The QEII bridge is closed to allow us to resolve the situation as safely as possible and a diversion is in place through the tunnel.

"This is a complex operation due to the height at which the protestors are currently situated and it may take some time but we are working as quickly as possible.

"We want to be clear – our priority is to keep people safe and keep Essex moving.

"We will take action against anyone who puts life in danger or things they can selfishly stop others getting to work or getting on with their lives.

"We appreciate your patience and understanding and will keep you updated through the day."

Traffic monitoring service, TomTom reports that the road will be closed until Tuesday. Credit: TomTom

The A282 Dartford Crossing is currently the only way to cross the Thames east of London by road.

The 2.8km-long (1.7 mile) QEII Bridge southbound and two 1.4km-long (0.8 mile) tunnels northbound link Essex and Kent.

The A282 also connects directly at both ends with the M25 London Orbital Motorway, one of the busiest motorways in Europe.