The Government is seeking an injunction against an environmental group after it shut down the M25 five times in just over a week.
The action against Insulate Britain comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps vowed to ensure “guerrilla” activists “cannot keep disrupting and endangering people’s lives”.
Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News: “We are taking legal action, I understand, to seek an injunction that would give police stronger powers to be able to intervene pre-emptively to stop these protests happening so that you are not getting a situation where you have to wait for them to sit on the road, cause chaos and then have to remove them after the event.”
The legal action, expected to be sought at the High Court on Thursday, come after Surrey Police on Tuesday arrested 38 activists from the group who targeted junctions 9 and 10 of Britain’s busiest motorway at 7.57am on Tuesday.
Footage taken at the scene by LBC showed the protesters walking on to the motorway and sitting down on the ground in front of moving traffic.
Some then held up banners reading “Insulate Britain” and poured blue paint on to the road, before they were dragged away by officers.
Writing in a column for the Mail, Ms Patel and Mr Shapps condemned the tactics of the protesters, adding police have their support to take “decisive action” against any future disruptive demonstrations.
They wrote: “(The protesters) have broken the law, undermined the cause they believe in, alienated the public, and created extra pollution, in one of the most self-defeating environmental protests this country has ever seen.
“We are giving (police) powers to better manage such guerrilla tactics in future.
“In the medium-term, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will put public nuisance on a statutory footing, ensuring there are appropriate sentences for the harm caused.”
Insulate Britain confirmed it led the demonstration on Tuesday, adding that new people have joined its campaign to improve home insulation in addition to the others who have been involved in similar demonstrations in Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex and Surrey over the past two weeks.
It added that the recent rise in gas and electricity costs has “increased the urgency” for change and it would end its campaign as soon as it hears a “meaningful commitment” to its demands.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe