Home Secretary criticises 'selfish' Cornish protestors blocking M25 motorway

Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured inset) said police must crackdown on the activists. Credit: Insulate Britain

The Home Secretary has criticised Cornish protestors after they blockaded the M25 motorway for the third time in a week.

Priti Patel described Insulate Britain demonstrators as "selfish" and criticised the "guerrilla tactics" used to bring traffic to a halt.

The environmental group, which is linked to Extinction Rebellion, has blocked parts of the dual carriageway three times this week.

Its members are calling on the Government to insulate all homes in the UK in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Home Secretary Priti Patel says Insulate Britain activists blocking the M25 are "selfish" and that the Government "Will not stand by." Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Cornish members of the group said earlier in the week that their actions are "holding the Government to account regarding their net zero targets.”

'We must do something now'

Insulate Britain spokesperson Nathaniel Squire, who is a 25-year-old osteopath from Redruth, said: “Insulating Britain’s homes is a simple step to take to decarbonise Britain.

"Not only is it a necessary step towards achieving the government's net zero targets but it also helps millions of vulnerable people in Britain.

“Working as a healthcare professional, I know that many who struggle due to fuel poverty will only increase as the planet continues to warm unless we do something now."

But Government ministers have responded strongly to the suggestion that the protests are helping raise climate awareness.

While acknowledging there will "always be space for legitimate groups to make their voices heard", Mrs Patel said the Government "will not stand by and allow a small minority of selfish protestors to cause a significant disruption to the lives and livelihoods of the hard-working majority."

On Friday morning (September 17), the M25 was targeted at junctions three (Kent), nine (Surrey), and 28 (Essex) by members of Insulate Britain.

Surrey Police said officers have arrested fourteen people at junction nine.

It follows similar blockades on Monday and Wednesday, where Insulate Britain members blocked slip-roads onto the motorway leading to dozens of arrests.

Following the three protests, the Government's Transport Secretary has also demanded "swift action" by the police to re-open the road.

Protesters blocking the M25 in London earlier this week. Credit: Insulate Britain/PA

Grant Shapps said: "This is dangerous and counterproductive.

"We all agree that climate change must be tackled, but this sort of behaviour achieves nothing, puts drivers at risk and increases pollution. I expect the police to take swift action to clear the roads."

But protestors say more disruption is planned.

A spokesperson for Insulate Britain said its "actions will continue until the Government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain's 29 million leaky homes by 2030, which are among the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe."