Police have arrested 11 people after activists from Insulate Britain blocked a roundabout at a junction with the M25 by glueing themselves to the road on Wednesday morning.
The protest, which started at about 7.30am, was the seventh similar action to be taken by the Extinction Rebellion splinter group – and the second since the granting of a court injunction that threatened imprisonment or unlimited fines if they did not stop.
“We are going nowhere. You can raid our savings. You can confiscate our property. You can deny us our liberty and put us behind bars. But shooting the messenger can never destroy the message: that this country is going to hell unless you take emergency action to stop putting carbon into the air. Boris, get on with the job,” said a spokesperson for the group.
The activists have become noted for their tactic of blocking London’s orbital motorway and other major roads as they try to draw greater attention to the climate crisis. Specifically, they have called for ministers to fully insulate all homes in the UK within a few years.
They argue that the act would not only reduce the UK’s climate emissions, it would also help tackle fuel poverty, which the latest official figures show affects more than 3m households in England alone.
Last Tuesday, the high court granted an injunction preventing protesters from disrupting traffic on to or along the M25 after several protests. The activists also targeted roads leading to Dover and a judge granted a further injunction last week. The activists claimed the campaign, which entered its third week on Monday, has been carried out by 115 people and resulted in more than 400 arrests.
While Insulate Britain’s methods have been heavily criticised by some, academics and policy experts have suggested there is support for the end the activists seek.
Experts have seen properly insulating homes as “low-hanging fruit” in the effort to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Last week, Jess Ralston, an analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, told the Guardian a 2017 study had found the initial cost of the work would be dwarfed by the financial and social benefits it brought.
Kent police tweeted: “The Swanley Interchange roundabout at J3 of the M25 has now reopened following an earlier protest, which has resulted in us arresting 11 people. Delays remain in the area whilst the backlog of traffic clears. Thank you for your patience.”