National Highways has been granted a new injunction against protestors meaning they could be imprisoned if they obstruct traffic on 13 key roads in and around London.
It is the third injunction taken out by the agency around the M25 and targets protesters “who cause disruption on any of the highways on the Strategic Road Network linked to the M25 in the South East”.
It means that any protests similar to those conducted by Insulate Britain would be in contempt of court and as such the offenders would be at risk of imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
The Strategic Road Network (SRN) is comprised of 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads at the core of the national transport system and is administered by Highways England.
Major roads around the Port of Dover are also protected by an injunction.
The new injunction also means that activists who are found in contempt of court may also be forced to repay the costs of their case, said the Department for Transport.
And it empowers the police to release information on the activists, and evidence, to National Highways so that the injunctions can be enforced.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We will continue to do all we can to prevent this self-defeating, disruptive and incredibly dangerous behaviour being carried out by Insulate Britain.
“They are putting lives in danger and damaging their own cause. Today, we’re ensuring every major road and motorway linked to the M25 is covered by this injunction to help prevent further disruption.
“Activists are being tracked down and served court papers and will now face justice. We will take the strongest action against anyone else who decides to take part in this ridiculous and irresponsible action.”
National Highways Regional Director Nicola Bell added: “This new injunction covering the Strategic Road Network in and around London is another step forward in helping to keep these reckless and dangerous protests away from our network and endangering peoples’ lives.
“We continue to serve court papers on those who have breached the previous injunctions, and repeat offenders will soon be receiving a court summons. People who breach the injunctions face imprisonment or an unlimited fine.”
The government said it is “committed to legislating to prevent these kinds of guerrilla tactics in the long-term through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill”.
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