Just Stop Oil activists face new penalties if they obstruct M25 motorway | Just Stop Oil
A high court injunction has been granted that would impose fresh penalties on Just Stop Oil activists for demonstrating on the country’s busiest motorway until November next year.
National Highways said it had secured the civil order to “prevent unlawful protests” on the M25, after a series of actions by the environmental group caused significant traffic disruption.
The injunction, granted on Monday before Mr Justice Soole, will remain in place until just before midnight on 15 November 2023.
It means that anyone entering, remaining upon or affixing themselves to any object or to any structure on the M25 could have proceedings launched against them for contempt of court.
They could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, the seizure of assets or a combination of these punishments.
About 65 individuals who were arrested by police as a result of their involvement in Just Stop Oil protests on the M25 gantries are named specifically in the injunction.
The injunction was secured in addition to a court order obtained by National Highways earlier this year that targeted protesters including those from Insulate Britain.
It comes as Just Stop Oil caused traffic disruption in the capital on Monday as protesters walked slowly along Shepherd’s Bush Green, west London at around 8am and also blocked traffic in Aldwych, central London.
Scotland Yard said on Sunday that activists from the environmental group were planning two weeks of disruption in London in the run-up to Christmas.
In a statement on Sunday, Just Stop Oil responded to reports of a clampdown on their actions. “They say that repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting a different result each time is a sign of madness,” they said.
“But we already know that the government is deluded and out of touch. To blindly pursue new fossil fuel extraction when the IEA [International Energy Agency], the UN and 99% of the world’s scientists have said that to do so will lead to the collapse of human civilisation is, in the words of the UN secretary general António Guterres, ‘moral and economic madness’.”
The transport secretary, Mark Harper, said on Monday: “The reckless, selfish actions of a small group of protesters has stopped children getting to school, people getting to work and emergency service workers from their critical work.”
He added: “Free speech and lawful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but putting people’s safety and livelihoods at risk due to selfish and unlawful protest activity will not be tolerated.”
Sean Martell, National Highways’ head of service delivery in the south-east, said: “Millions of people rely on the strategic road network every day and they have a right to expect it to operate as it should.
“Climbing on structures such as gantries is extremely dangerous – both for the protesters themselves and motorists – and we’re committed to doing all we can to seek to prevent a small minority from causing disruption on the network.”
Meanwhile, a group of five Just Stop Oil activists received suspended prison sentences for breaching an injunction by blocking access to a petrol station.
Ruth Cook, 70, Joy Corrigan, 71, Dr Patrick Hart, 36, Stephen Jarvis, 66, and George Oakenfold, 78, all admitted breaking terms of a civil order granted to Thurrock council and Essex county council.