Second group of Insulate Britain activists could face jail for disruptive M25 protests

14 December 2021, 06:32 | Updated: 14 December 2021, 07:23

Insulate Britain members are due in the High Court on Tuesday.
Insulate Britain members are due in the High Court on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Another group of Insulate Britain activists could face jail for allegedly breaching injunctions aimed at blocking their climate change protests.

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Nine people are due to face contempt of court proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, less than a month after a judge jailed protesters for causing travel chaos on the M25.

The nine due in court are Dr Ben Buse, Ruth Jarman, Biff Whipster, Dr Diana Warner, Paul Sheeky, Richard Ramsden, Stephen Gower, Steven Pritchard and the Rev Sue Parfitt.

Dr Buse was among the previous nine activists to receive prison sentences of between three and six months back in November.

He received one of the larger sentences of four months for breaching High Court injunctions, with all members ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

One protester - Ben Taylor - was given six months for his statement to the judge.

Read more: Insulate Britain protester on hunger strike moved to hospital wing of prison

Read more: Tougher punishments target Insulate Britain protesters using 'guerrilla' tactics

Mr Taylor told the High Court in November that if he was "not put in prison" for breaching an injunction banning disruptive protests on the nation's roads, he will "go and block the motorway at the earliest opportunity and will continue to do so until the Government makes a meaningful statement and acts on it".

They were handed their sentences on November 17 and will all spend Christmas behind bars.

Insulate Britain said a further 17 members of the group face being summoned to court at later dates, after they breached numerous injunctions on the country's roads in September and October.

Read more: Eco mob Insulate Britain cost Met police £2m in just four weeks

Their protests around London cost the Met Police nearly £2m in the first four weeks of the group's activity.

Figures obtained by LBC show the cost soared to £1,961,616.44 from 13th September, the first time the group blocked a road on the M25, and the 10th October, four weeks later.

The group has disrupted traffic on the M25, as well was on other roads in London, Dover, Birmingham and Manchester.

They've caused fury among motorists who have been held up by their demonstrations, with videos showing angry drivers dragging them out of the roads and ripping posters from their hands.

Read more: Moment eco activists are sprayed with ink as they block roads again

A number of High Court injunctions against the group's road blockades have been granted to Transport for London and National Highways to prevent their disruptive protests.

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

The hearing before Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Johnson is due to start at 10.30am on Tuesday.

It comes as jailed Insulate Britain protester Emma Smart ends her hunger strike after 26 days without food.

She had been moved to the hospital wing at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, at the end of last month, 13 days into the hunger strike.

The 44-year-old, from Weymouth in Dorset, said she decided to end her protest on Sunday after receiving a letter from her local MP, Conservative Richard Drax.

She was jailed for four months on November 17 for breaching an injunction and immediately vowed to stop eating until the Government moves to insulate homes.