Just Stop Oil protests affect M25 and Dartford Crossing

Essex Police described the action of the protesters as “unacceptable”.

Multiple arrests were made after a second day of widespread disruption by protesters on the M25.

The motorway was blocked and cranes erected in Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey by Just Stop Oil campaigners.

They said the action was to “require the government to halt all new oil and gas licenses and consents”.

The Dartford Tunnel has been experiencing problems since 07:00 GMT and one of the tunnels remains closed.

The Metropolitan Police (Met) said 16 protesters were arrested on the M25 in a joint operation with Essex, Surrey and Kent police forces.

On Sunday, the High Court issued an injunction blocking the M25 protests, meaning anyone involved in any such protest could be found in contempt of court.

The disruption comes as the COP27 climate summit takes place in Egypt.

Police officers in a police car

Officers remained at the scene at the north end of Dartford Crossing, Essex Police said

The Met said teams trained to safely remove people clinging to a structure, including those at height, had been used.

The locations affected were:

  • Essex – Junction 27 (Epping), Junction 30 (Lakeside) and Junction 31 (Dartford Crossing)

  • Herts – Junction 20 (Kings Langley), Junction 21a (Bricket Wood), Junction 22 (London Conley) and Junction 26 (Cheshunt)

  • Kent – Junction 1b (Dartford)

  • Surrey – Junctions seven (M23) to eight (Reigate), junctions eight to nine (Leatherhead), Junction 11 (Chertsey) and Junctions 12 (M23) to 13 (Staines)

  • London – Junctions 14 to 15 (Slough)

The police believe that some of those involved in the protests could have violated the High Court order obtained by the National Highway.

Just Stop Oil said in a statement: “We will not be intimidated by changes in the law, we will not be stopped by private lawsuits that seek to silence peaceful people.

“Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when faced with mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.”

Earlier, Essex Police said the protests would cause “major disruption” to motorists using the M25 to drive from Kent to Essex via the A282 Dartford junction.

Both tunnels of the northbound crossing were closed, but one reopened at about 08:45.

Essex Police said that due to officers “precautionally patrolling the M25”, a woman was arrested within 90 minutes of being spotted on a bridge.

Ch Supt Simon Anslow said: “I completely understand the anger and frustration and I want to reassure people that we are working hard to prevent these crimes and respond as quickly as we can where they happen.

“We have mobilized a significant amount of resources … resources which should be tackling knife crime, helping to investigate sex and domestic offenses and tackling burglaries.”

Just Stop Oil said about 15 of its supporters climbed in “multiple locations”.

In her statement, campaigner Charlotte Kirin, a 53-year-old social worker and parent from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, said: “To survive we must take action to stop new oil and gas.”

Hertfordshire Police said they responded to reports of “protest activity” at junction 20 (Kings Langley), junction 21a (Bricket Wood) and junction 22 (London Colney) of the M25.

Some lanes had been closed for officers to assess the situation, he added.

Essex Police arrest a protester

Essex Police have released a photo of their officers who made the arrest on Tuesday

Surrey Police said they had been confronted by protesters who scaled the motorway bridges on the M25 between junctions seven (for the M23) and eight (Reigate), eight and nine (Leatherhead) and junctions 12 (M3) and 13 (Staines). Many arrests were made.

Kent Police said two protesters were arrested at junction 1b (Dartford) of the M25. The force said the motorway remained open but motorists faced delays following the protest on the Essex side of the Thames Estuary.

The Met said eight people were charged with conspiracy to cause a public nuisance after their arrest on Sunday, ahead of action on the M25 this week.

Essex Police said three people were charged with intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance after they were arrested at junctions 27 and 30 on Monday.

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