Who are Insulate Britain and why do they keep stopping M25 traffic?

·3-min read
Who are Insulate Britain and why do they keep stopping M25 traffic?

Insulate Britain have blocked several slip roads as well as the main carriageway of the M25 orbital itself in recent weeks.

A court ruling won by the government warns climate change protesters that they could be jailed if they continue their campaign of blocking the M25.

We take a look at who they are, what they are fighting for and why they have resorted to such extreme tactics.

Who are Insulate Britain and what is their background?

Insulate Britain is an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion (XR), the environmental activists who target the City of London in a bid to force real action on the climate crisis by the government.

The group says on its Facebook page that it was “set up by people in XR and related networks”.

The group began in summer this year, launching its website in July.

Since then, the group has been holding events across England and Wales.

The group says on its Facebook page that it was “set up by people in XR and related networks”
The group says on its Facebook page that it was “set up by people in XR and related networks”

What are Insulate Britain campaigning for?

They are calling on the Prime Minister to “lead our country through the climate crisis”.

They say: “The UK government must immediately promise to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain

“We demand a national home insulation strategy that gives British people the justice they deserve: a future for our loved ones, lower energy bills and safer living conditions.

“We are scared: our livelihoods are at risk and the futures of our children are uncertain. The Climate Crisis is a threat to all: we demand the Government act now.”

Insulate Britain says insulating all homes is the “most cost effective way” to reduce the impacts of fuel poverty and reduce CO2 emissions (PA)
Insulate Britain says insulating all homes is the “most cost effective way” to reduce the impacts of fuel poverty and reduce CO2 emissions (PA)

What action are they demanding the government takes?

Insulate Britain says insulating all homes is the “most cost effective way” to reduce the impacts of fuel poverty and reduce CO2 emissions.

According to their website, they believe the UK government should take the following actions:

  • Immediately promises to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025.

  • Immediately promises to produce, within four months, a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit, with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030, as part of a just transition to full decarbonisation of all parts of society and the economy.

A police officer searches a protester at a slip road at junction 18 of the M25, near Rickmansworth (PA Wire)
A police officer searches a protester at a slip road at junction 18 of the M25, near Rickmansworth (PA Wire)

What protests have the group been behind?

Earlier on Tuesday, Insulate Britain activists ran out in front of oncoming traffic on the M25.

Traffic was forced to stop as the activists sprawled out across all the lanes and completely blocked both sides with signs.

Surrey Police said they made 23 arrests last Tuesday morning as they quickly moved to reopen the motorway.

Around 29 protestors were arrested last Monday morning after a planned shut down of the London orbital at 7am.

They have been involved in numerous other similar protests in recent weeks.

Police said 53 Insulate Britain activists have been arrested after they formed a human roadblock on the slip road, at junction 14 near Heathrow, on Monday morning.

Furthermore, eleven activists were arrested on Wednesday morning, including reverends in dog collars, after causing chaos on the London orbital at Junction 3 with Swanley.

On Thursday Insulate Britain brought the M25 to a standstill for the eighth time targeting J30 close to Thurrock, Essex by walking out onto the road at about 8am.

The activists on Monday blocked four major roads including the Blackwall Tunnel and Wandsworth Bridge bringing rush hour traffic to a halt in the capital.

They have been involved in numerous other similar protests in recent weeks (PA Media)
They have been involved in numerous other similar protests in recent weeks (PA Media)

How have the public reacted?

Insulate Britain says it has won over support from several industry experts and architects.

But drivers have not been happy about the disruption.

Footage emerged of angry drivers trying to drag the demonstrators from the road.

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