Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd on Insulate Britain's motorway protests
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire has denounced the "unforgivable" actions of Insulate Britain campaigners after they brought motorways to a standstill on Friday (Sept 17) for the third time this week.
Eleven people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance after Hertfordshire Constabulary received reports at about 10.35am that protestors were lying in the road on the M1 at junction 5 for Watford. The road was cleared by 11.05am and there was a "short disruption" for motorists.
Assistant Chief Constable Genna Telfer said: "We are also investigating suspected criminal damage to the road where attempts have been made to write on it with paint."
Closer to Bishop's Stortford, nine people were arrested by Essex Police when IB members partially blocked access onto the M11 roundabout at junction 8 on Friday morning (Sept 17).
Six men and three women holding banners sat across the road blocking the entrance to the roundabout from the B1256 Takeley road, resulting in congestion for "roughly 45 minutes", according to the force.
Essex Police also arrested 15 campaigners at junction 28 of the M25 near Brentwood.
Herts PCC David Lloyd said: “The police have a difficult job to do and I support officers taking a firm hand in dealing with these protesters. I believe those obstructing a major highway should always be removed as quickly as possible.
“Swift action at today’s attempted blockade meant it was resolved within 20 minutes, with 11 people arrested. This is the type of reaction the vast majority of people expect the police to take in these circumstances.
“Whilst I am not happy that the public have been inconvenienced to such a great extent by these protestors, I am not convinced that the police were able to do much more under the current circumstances.
“Many people and organisations, including the constabulary and my office, are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. But Insulate Britain are hitting the wrong target and turning the public against them.
"They are, of course, free to protest, but not in such a way where it disrupts the lives of thousands of other people who are trying to get on with their daily lives.
“It is unforgivable that their actions have meant people have missed family funerals and cancer patients haven’t been treated. They are putting lives at risk and that cannot be tolerated.
“I will be doing my utmost to ensure that the constabulary deal with highly disruptive protesters in a robust manner.
"I repeat my support for the measures in the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will give the police additional powers to deal with issues such as this.”
Insulate Britain is calling on the Government to put in place policy and funding for a national home insulation programme starting with all social housing. It says its actions will continue until the Government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate all of Britain’s 29 million leaky homes – which are among the oldest and most energy-inefficient in Europe – by 2030.