Insulate Britain protesters change tactics to walking into oncoming M25 traffic

·3-min read

Watch: Insulate Britain protestors change tactics by walking into oncoming M25 traffic

Insulate Britain activists have adopted new protest tactics, changing from sitting in the middle of roads to walking towards oncoming motorway traffic.

The campaign group said the decision to walk down white lines marking traffic lanes on the M25 rather than blocking the motorway by sitting across it had been made following "feedback" that drivers have been left frustrated by their actions.

On Friday morning, demonstrators briefly entered the carriageway near Junction 28 and 29 of the motorway, planning to walk down the white lines marking traffic lanes, but were quickly removed by police. 

Essex Police said it was called at around 8am to reports that a number of people had been seen walking into the traffic to block both carriageways between Junctions 28 and 29.

It said officers "responded swiftly" to remove people from the road and both carriageways were reopened within 30 minutes. A total of 10 arrests were made, the force said.

Chief Inspector Lee Devall said: "Not only will incidents of this nature be frustrating for road users trying to reach their destination, walking into fast moving traffic is extremely dangerous.

"I’d like to thank road users today for their patience and understanding.

Read more: Insulate Britain: Arrests after fighting breaks out on M25 as angry drivers clash with climate protesters

"You’ve helped us to clear the area quickly, to keep people safe, minimise disruption, and keep Essex moving.

"Our teams are experienced at dealing with incidents which cause significant disruption and are well prepared for them. We will continue to deal with these incidents robustly."

Essex Police
Essex Police shared an image of Insulate Britain protestors on Friday, saying it had made 10 arrests. (Twitter/Essex Police)

Insulate Britain's new tactics were deployed for the group’s 17th day of action, which has seen some protesters have ink thrown in their faces by angry motorists.

Activists have now blocked roads on 17 days since 13 September, with the controversial protest leaving many motorists frustrated by long queues, with scuffles breaking out on occasion.

A spokesperson for the group, who gave his name as Biff, said despite the new tactic of walking down the carriageway, safety was “paramount” and protests would not have proceeded if cars did not slow down sufficiently.

He said: "The intention is to enter the carriageway and walk towards the oncoming traffic along the white lines.

"If cars don’t slow down and are hurtling along at full speed then we will be on the hard shoulder wearing our hi-vis with the banners. We would hope that it slows down anyway."

He added: "We’ve had feedback that people are frustrated that they spent time in traffic queues.

"This is like a rolling traffic queue, so we’ll move, and once they get to the front they will be able to move on.

"We’re not planning to stop traffic but it could slow down to five miles an hour."

A High Court injunction is in place in an effort to stop Insulate Britain's activities, with those who break it at risk of being found in contempt of court and facing a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Watch: Who are 'Insulate Britain'?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting