M25 Protests: Seven arrested as Just Stop Oil targets road for fourth day

  • Tap to watch a special report by ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan as Surrey & Sussex Police's joint roads unit deploy drones and specialist teams to combat Just Stop Oil gantry-climbers

Seven climate change activists from the Just Stop Oil group have been arrested on their fourth day of protesting on the M25.

Police forces in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Essex, Hampshire and Hertfordshire ramped up resources to tackle the gantry-climbers before they caused yet more rush hour chaos.

Officers on patrol searched a car in Westerham, and seized climbing equipment including harnesses, D-locks and banners.

Two women aged 20 and 21, and three men aged 50, 45 and 18 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance.

Earlier in the week three women were also charged with the same offence:

Drivers on the M25 were left in several miles on queues on Thursday morning after protesters closed parts of the motorway. Just Stop Oil claimed responsibility for the disruption, which is the fourth consecutive day of 'action'.

Kent Police confirmed five suspected activists were arrested at around 6.20am on Thursday morning.

Kent Police seized climbing equipment near Westerham in Kent. Credit: Kent Police
Kent Police seized climbing equipment for suspected activists near the M25 at Westerham. Credit: Kent Police

The campaign group has warned of continued protests until the government takes steps to address climate change and tackle what they say is a dependence on oil.

Grahame Buss told ITV Meridian: "Look I recognise its disruptive, of course its disruptive. Did you see what Suella Braverman said this morning?, she said 'Disruption is a threat to our way of life', the climate crisis is the greatest disruption we could possibly face, that's why we're taking this action."

Forces, including Surrey, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Metropolitan Police have been out on key stretches of the road to minimise disruption. 

ITV Meridian joined with Surrey Police Roads unit on patrol, who closed the M25 near to Junction 8 this morning.

The road was closed in both directions between Junction 16 for the M40 and Junction 15 for the M4 whilst police deal with a protester.

It has since reopened but traffic qeued for several miles, with motorists urged to seek alternatives routes.

The M25 was also closed in both directions at Junction 8 - due to a protester being on a gantry without a harness.

Surrey Police dealt with the situation at one gantry with a specialist 'protestor removal unit', and also removed another activist who was reported further up on the same stretch of road.

In Hampshire, the roads policing team took to social media to condemn protesters for leaving drivers stranded on the hard shoulder of the M25, because their cars overheated.

The Twitter post read: "These poor drivers are stranded on the hard shoulder M25.

"They overheated in the stationary traffic due to the unlawful JSO protest.

"They are now in danger from the fast traffic as are many others. This is why motorways are not a safe place to protest."

Surrey Police arrest a protester who was removed from a gantry near to Junction 8 this morning

Police were out in force and deployed thermal-imaging surveillance drones to try to identify protesters before they make it onto motorway gantries.

Surrey Police stationed officers at key locations on the motorway, in the hope of minimising disruption, and worked with National Highways chiefs who closed the carriageways when required.

  • National Highways' Sean Martell explains what's being done to make it harder to access the gantries.

Meanwhile Kent Police has said that as of 7:50am there are no incidents on road networks in Kent.

Its officers are currently helping other forces in responding to disruption elsewhere on the M25.

On Wednesday, Lisa Townsend, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, urged activists to halt their "reckless" protests.

She said: “What we have seen in Surrey and elsewhere over the last three days goes way beyond peaceful protest. What we are dealing with here is co-ordinated criminality by determined activists.

"Sadly, we have now seen an officer in Essex getting injured while responding to one of the protests and I would like to send my best wishes to them for a full and speedy recovery.

"The actions of this group are becoming more and more reckless and I call on them to halt these dangerous protests now. Enough is enough – people are getting hurt."

But, Just Stop Oil have tweeted this morning to say that "they are done asking nicely" and action will continue.

The group yesterday commented on an incident, where a police officer was injured whilst dealing with a protest.

Just Stop Oil has commented on the incident: "The collision of two lorries and the injury of a police officer on the M25 this morning is an awful situation. The level of disruption being witnessed on the M25 should not be happening - people are rightly angry and frustrated.

"The impact on peoples lives is huge. In normal circumstances this would be unacceptable. It should never have come to this. The failure of our politics has left us with no other option as we seek to protect our rights and freedoms from a collapse in law and order due to a heating world."