Police make 38 arrests as eco protestors clash with motorists across London

4 October 2021, 08:14 | Updated: 4 October 2021, 12:25

Tensions were high as motorists clashed with Insulate Britain in their eleventh protest in the last three weeks
Tensions were high as motorists clashed with Insulate Britain in their eleventh protest in the last three weeks. Picture: LBC

By Daisy Stephens

A total of 38 people have been arrested so far after Insulate Britain protestors blocked four major roads in London, the Met Police have confirmed.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the Metropolitan Police said there was "heavy disruption" even though the roads had reopened and said that nearly 40 people had been arrested.

"Officers are dealing with protestors who have blocked parts of the A2, A3, A12 and A40," said the force.

"While the roads remain open, there is heavy disruption at all four locations with slow moving traffic while work is underway to remove those who have glued themselves onto the road.

"So far, 38 arrests have been made for disruption of the highway and conspiracy to cause public nuisance."

They added: "We consider protests of this nature unreasonable and are acting as quickly as possible to minimise disruption caused to members of the public using the roads."

The Police confirmed just after midday that all protestors had been removed and the roads were clear.

Insulate Britain protests blocked Blackwall Tunnel, Hangar Lane, Arnos Grove and Wandsworth Bridge, causing chaos during Monday's rush hour.

Long queues formed and drivers furiously blared their horns as protestors glued themselves to the highway and refused to move.

Protestors then clashed directly with motorists, including a van driver who drove into protestors and a woman who begged to be allowed past to follow her mother's ambulance to hospital.

The tearful woman pleaded with the group where they blocked the Blackwall Tunnel.

She was seen telling the group she needed to go to the hospital, where her mother was being taken to in an ambulance.

After branding the protestors "selfish" she later tried to reason with them, crouching where they gathered in the road and saying: "We all believe on what you're doing but i just need to get to my mum... everybody agrees with you."

A woman pleaded with protestors to let her get to her mother, who was on her way to hospital in an ambulance
A woman pleaded with protestors to let her get to her mother, who was on her way to hospital in an ambulance. Picture: LBC

The woman then asked protestors why they were there, to which one of the protestors replied: "No one is doing anything."

The woman responded: "But that's not my fault! And my mum is the one in an ambulance on the way to hospital!"

She has since been allowed through.

One van driver drove at the group as they assembled at the traffic lights, even striking one protestor who still refused to move.

Insulate Britain confirmed that around 50 protestors were blocking major routes in London.

Read more: 53 Insulate Britain eco-protesters released by police as govt slams 'guerrilla tactics'

The group have caused chaos during Monday's rush hour
The group have caused chaos during Monday's rush hour. Picture: LBC

Defending the group's action, protestor Tracey Mallaghan said that insulating the housing stock would reduce emissions by 15 per cent.

"You must think that's a good idea," she said to LBC Correspondent Rachael Venables.

"What about the woman who's a few cars back who can't get to her mum who could be dying in hospital?" Rachael countered.

Ms Mallaghan said it was "absolutely heartbreaking", but said: "What else do we have left when after three decades we've had nothing but words and lies?"

She then hit out at the media, arguing protests were the only way to get people talking about the issue of poorly insulated homes.

"None of us want to be doing this," she said.

"My heart is broken listening to that poor lady. I don't want it to be like that but the reality is all of our children are going to be going to nothing but funerals and facing nothing but crisis after crisis if we don't prepare for what is coming."

It is the eleventh protest by Insulate Britain in the past three weeks.

Previous action has seen them cause chaos for motorists on the M25, M1, M4 and at the Port of Dover.

In comes despite a fresh Government injunction taken out on Saturday, which would see protestors facing imprisonment or an unlimited fine if they damage roads or use tactics like gluing themselves to the highway or abandoning their vehicles.

Read more: 'You're the hypocrites!' Iain Dale takes on Insulate Britain protester

"We’re more scared of what will happen when the climate crisis causes the breakdown of law and order, than we are of injunctions and prison," said Tracey, a spokesperson for Insulate Britain.

"The government is focussing on us rather than what’s coming down the road. They need to face up to reality.

"If our government really wants to do something for hard-working families it should act decisively to insulate Britain’s homes. It will help people with rising energy bills, prevent 8,500 fuel poverty deaths this winter and cut carbon emissions in the most cost-effective way possible."

She urged: "Come on Boris: get on with the job!"

Police are on the scene
Police are on the scene. Picture: LBC

Insulate Britain says actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain’s 29 million homes by 2030.