Insulate Britain: Protesters start walking into oncoming traffic in tactics change

A spokesperson for the group, who gave his name as Biff, said safety was “paramount”

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Insulate Britain activists have switched up their protest tactics by walking towards oncoming traffic on the M25.

The group said the decision to stop sitting in the middle of roads to block vehicles had been made following “feedback” that many drivers were frustrated by their actions.

On Friday morning demonstrators briefly entered the carriageway near Junction 28 and 29 of the motorway, intending to walk down the white lines marking traffic lanes.

But Essex Police said officers arrived at the scene “swiftly” and 10 activists were removed from the road and arrested, with both carriageways reopening within 30 minutes.

The new tactics have been deployed for the group’s 17th day of action, the last of which saw protesters have ink thrown in their faces by angry motorists.

M25 Junction 28
M25 Junction 28

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

“The intention is to enter the carriageway and walk towards the oncoming traffic along the white lines,” he said prior to the protest.

“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.

Insulate Britain acknowledged it was knowingly breaching a High Court injunction that aims to prevent its disruptive activities.

Those who break the injunctions could be found in contempt of court and face a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Activists have now blocked roads on 17 days since September 13, causing misery for drivers stuck in long queues of traffic.

Following Friday’s demonstration, Essex Police 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.

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

“We will continue to deal with these incidents robustly.”