Insulate Britain target Manchester and Birmingham for first time as protests continue

Insulate Britain target Manchester and Birmingham for first time as protests continue

Insulate Britain protesters caused commuter chaos again this morning in three major cities in the UK.

Approximately 60 protesters took to major roads in London, Manchester and Birmingham this morning, with some gluing themselves to the road.

The roads targeted include junction 23 on the M25 in London, junction 6 on the M56 in Manchester, near Manchester airport, and the A4400 in Birmingham.

Some protesters glued themselves to the M25, with police being pictured ungluing one eco-warrior from a roadblock near to the South Mimms roundabout at the junction of the M25 and the A1.

Insulate Britain protestsPolice officers remove a protester glued to the road this morning Ian West/PA Wire

Around 20 demonstrators arrived at the M25 at around 8am but were stopped by police from getting into the road. Six sat on the pavement with a banner, and some glued themselves to the ground. Another two managed to glue themselves to one lane of the carriageway on a quiet part of the roundabout.

More than a dozen cops and seven police vehicles responded to the scene at Britain’s busiest motorway this morning. Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, a retired family therapist from Bristol, was among those detained.

Protesters at junction 23 of the M25 have now been removed and the road has now reopened.

Eco-warriors also glued themselves to the road near the Holiday Inn Express Manchester Airport.

Insulate Britain protestsA protester with their hand glued to the road at a roadblock near to the Holiday Inn Express Motorway Airport in ManchesterPA

The M25 and central London were previously targeted, but this morning marks the first time the group has taken to Birmingham and Manchester.

Insulate Britain campaigner Gabby said the group now wishes to take their message beyond London.

Gabby, a graphic designer from Norwich, said: “Britain should be leading the world with radical plans to decarbonise our society, instead our government is actively setting policies that will drive emissions higher.”

Jess, 25, who had glued her hand to the road this morning, said: “Before we started doing this no-one was talking about insulation, nobody cared about it, nobody knew it was an issue now, and it’s been in the newspapers and it’s been all over people’s dinner table conversations for the last six weeks.

“They say ‘we agree with your cause but not the tactics’, but at the end of the day they only know about our cause because of our tactics.

According to Hertfordshire Police, 20 arrests have been made near junction 23 of the M25 this morning. Police received further reports of protesters near the A1081, St Albans Road, at around 8.20am.

Chief Superintendent Nick Caveney said: “Officers were at the scene within minutes, working quickly to make arrests and putting partial road closures in place in order to keep traffic flowing, meaning that disruption was kept to a minimum

“Some 20 people were arrested in connection with the protest activity in Hertfordshire today, and will be taken to custody.

“Not only is purposely blocking a highway incredibly dangerous, it also affects countless members of the public who are inconvenienced as a result. We would like to thank motorists for their patience while officers dealt with the matter this morning.”

Greater Manchester Police also worked to “minimise disruption” and asked people to avoid the area around Wilmslow Road (A538), close to Manchester Airport, this morning.

West Midlands Police said around 20 people “briefly and intermittently” blocked traffic on the A4400 for around one hour at around 9am but caused only “minimal disruption” before “dispersing peacefully”. The force made no arrests.

In a statement this morning, the group admitted to “defying” the High Court injunctions ordering them to stop blocking roads.

The London and Manchester roads are part of the strategic road network and covered by a super injunction granted to National Highways last week.

Nine Insulate Britain activists have received summons for injunction breaking and will attend court on 16 November. A further 23 summons are expected to follow.

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

Diana Warner, 62, a retired GP, said: “One of the important reasons for coming out today was to say we’re all together. It’s not just nine.”

Speaking to indy100, the group last week vowed to continue their protests until prime minister Boris Johnson can make a “meaningful statement” they can “trust” on insulating Britain’s homes.

The group said this is the 17th time they have blocked roads over the past seven weeks. Over that time protesters and motorists have clashed numerous times. In recent weeks the eco-warriors have been driven into, doused in ink, and had bagpipes played in their faces.

Today’s protest coincides with the third day of talks at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Additional reporting by PA.

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