ECO-warriors who cause havoc on motorways face being locked up under emergency plans ordered by ministers last night.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have told officials to seek an injunction against Insulate Britain.
The moment officers dragged the activists off the road at around 8am
Protesters attempted to glue themselves to the high speed motorwayCredit: Getty
The pair are said to be “furious” at the eco-activists who ran in front of traffic during yesterday morning’s rush hour.
They told the Daily Mail: “They have broken the law, undermined the cause they believe in, alienated the public, and created extra pollution, in one of the most self-defeating environmental protests this country has ever seen, particularly as we all strive so hard to rebuild after 18 months of the pandemic.
“The police have our full support to take decisive action and we’re working with National Highways to take legal action against the protesters to ensure they cannot keep disrupting and endangering people’s lives in this way.
“We are giving them powers to better manage such guerrilla tactics in future.”
They added in the medium-term, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would put public nuisance on a statutory footing, ensuring there were appropriate sentences for any harm caused.
Insulate Britain had previously been targeting the slip roads of the motorway to disrupt motorists.
A senior government source said: “Priti and Grant are furious that the lives of the law-abiding majority are continuing to be disrupted by the actions of an extreme minority.”
It comes as furious drivers clashed with the demonstrators who glued themselves to the road and caused traffic chaos.
Protesters ignored calls from the police yesterday morning and jumped the barrier from the hard shoulder before running in front of traffic.
Officers attempted to haul them off the carriageway as motorists slowed down but they managed to sprawl across the lane and completely block both sides of the M25 near Woking.
The activists were eventually removed from both carriageways by cops in front of the huge tailbacks on the busy motorway.
Officers arrested 38 people in connection with the incident this morning and traffic began moving slowly.
They have broken the law, undermined the cause they believe in, alienated the public, and created extra pollution, in one of the most self-defeating environmental protests this country has ever seen
Priti Patel and Grant Shapps
It was the fifth time that the climate crisis warriors have successfully caused travel chaos across the London orbital and surrounding motorways.
Activists last week blocked one carriageway of the major road but this is the first time they have managed to block both.
Zoe Cohen from the group told LBC: “It’s not about justifying it. What we know is that our government is failing to protect British families.
“Thousands will die this winter from fuel poverty. Millions of families will struggle.
“We hate doing it, we hate doing it – please, please – will you please ask government to write reasonable statement and get us off the road. We don’t want to do this.
“If the government met our demands to insulate and retrofit social housing and the rest of the homes in Britain, it would save thousands of lives.”
It is completely unacceptable behaviour.
Kwasi Kwarteng MP
Kwasi Kwarteng calls today’s M25 protest “completely unacceptable” and “very disturbing” adding that he is “surprised” by how the police are handling the protests.
The Conservative MP said: “It is completely unacceptable behaviour. That is why Priti Patel is really trying to push action on this.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable for people to be delaying others who are critically injured and preventing them from getting vital hospital services.”
“Why aren’t police able to stop if before it starts?
“I think you would have to ask the local police enforcement and officers what is going on there.
“I was surprised as you were to see this happening and certainly I support the Home Secretary in her determination to try to sort this out.
“I was very surprised to see the footage this morning.
“Clearly there is something that is happening between the Home Secretary saying, bringing people together and then actually implementing those instructions, that guidance on the ground.
“That sometimes happens. It’s very disturbing.
“We have introduced legislation that helps the police do their job.”
He added: “There is an issue with enforcement and that is the problem we have here.”
‘YOU ARE CAUSING MORE POLLUTION’
The shameless protesters yesterday offered their “sympathies” for a woman who was paralysed by a stroke while sitting in the traffic that they caused.
The group caused severe disruption as its activists blocked part of the busy motorway throughout last week.
An irate driver previously told the activists: “Why the hell do you think this is the right thing to do?
“I know what you’re fighting, I completely agree, this is a really, really good idea, but this is not the way to do it.
“You’re causing more pollution with all these cars sitting here just doing f*** all.
“You’re making people hate you. Go and protest London, go down to Downing Street.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has criticised climate protesters disrupting the M25.
He said: “I think it’s irresponsible, I think it’s dangerous.
“It’s completely counterproductive as well because they’re actually creating the pollution they want to get rid of by having cars standing still, so there’s no justification for that kind of action.
“I call on them to stop and the police to intervene.”
Downing Street have backed police in taking “swift action” against environmental protesters on the M25.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister: “The police have our full support in taking swift action.
“That kind of disruption is dangerous and takes police away from communities where they are needed most.”
They added that the forthcoming Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will give officers “the tools they need to address this problem”.
Insulate Britain’s spokesman this morning had a spat with talk RADIO presented James Whale over the protest.
James asked what Green Party Cllr Shane Collins was going to do about the “ridiculous” situation and called the group “pillocks.”
Collins attempted to interrupt the broadcaster, but was told “Don’t you ‘oi’ me. The public are not going to have this much longer, I tell you that.
“Do you really think you’re going to get your message across in this way?
“Do you know the people who are going against huge amounts of public opinion sitting in the road? These are decent people.”
“No one has died… the ones who have died after the 8,500 every single year because of cold damp homes.”
Mr Whale went on to brand them as “idiots” who are “sitting in the middle of the road, stopping people from going to hospital or earning a living.”
A senior officer on the Met’s roads team tweeted: “Whatever your thoughts are re the cause, this method of entering a 4 lane carriageway in this way is so unbelievably dangerous, not just for the protestors but the road users themselves.
“If you’re thinking of taking part in these actions, please for everyone’s safety, don’t!”
Police arrest a vicar during the protestsCredit: Getty
Insulate Britain protesters have blocked the M25 carriagewayCredit: Getty
Motorists were forced to slow down as they dashed onto the roadCredit: LBC
Cops have made 23 arrests this morningCredit: Getty
They were dragged from the busy motorway by copsCredit: LBC