Insulate Britain: Motorway speed limits should be 10mph during our protests

·4-min read

National Highways should reduce motorway speed limits to as low as 10mph when Insulate Britain protests on a carriageway, a member of the campaign group told the High Court.

Dr Diana Warner, a member of Extinction Rebellion offshoot, demanded that the roads agency work with protesters to “ensure safety for everyone” amid its efforts to block traffic on major roads.

Her comments came during a High Court hearing on Tuesday where a judge extended an injunction granted to Transport for London (TfL) against Insulate Britain.

Meanwhile, Essex Police said it has “identified those believed to be involved” after a video was released showing a woman drive into two activists blocking a road.

Watch: Who is 'Insulate Britain'?

The footage shows an angry woman shouting “my son needs to get to school and I need to get to work so get out of the way”, before she gets back into her car and repeatedly drives it into the protesters.

The incident took place near Junction 31 of the M25 in Thurrock on October 13.

Essex Police said its “inquiries are ongoing”.

Insulate Britain protests
An Insulate Britain protester blocking a roundabout at Junction 3 of the M25 (Insulate Britain/PA)

London’s transport network was granted a civil banning order earlier this month, aimed at preventing protesters from obstructing traffic on some of the capital’s busiest roads.

Members of Insulate Britain have also been made subject to three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.

Insulate Britain protests
Police officers detain a protester from Insulate Britain (PA)

In the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Lavender extended the TfL injunction and granted permission for the list of named individuals it covers to be amended.

The judge said the injunction was extended either until a trial is held in the case or a further court order or April 8 next year.

“This doesn’t rule out the possibility that it could be extended again by a judge on a further occasion,” he added.

Last week, the court heard that National Highways may ask for a default or summary judgment – legal steps which would mean the case against the protesters is resolved without a trial.

Mr Justice Lavender also granted a request by TfL’s barrister, Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC, for further disclosure of information by the Metropolitan Police relating to arrests.

Insulate Britain protests
A member of Insulate Britain attempts to hand in a letter for Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street (PA)

During Tuesday’s hearing, Insulate Britain members were given the chance to address the court.

Dr Warner, a retired GP, told the court that Insulate Britain is “intent on keeping the public safe” and “committed to non-violence”.

The 62-year-old added that there is a “wide gulf” between her understanding of “what constitutes safety” and National Highways’ stance.

Dr Warner said National Highways should “slow the traffic to 20 miles per hour or 10 miles per hour when there are people are on the motorway”, warning that she expects to continue Insulate Britain’s campaign for “civil resistance” until “a meaningful statement from the Government that we can trust”.

“I’m willing to give up my freedom and my house. These are all the material things I have,” she said, adding that there is “everything to lose if we destroy the Earth that sustains us”.

Last month, climate protesters wrote to National Highways calling for the speed limit to be reduced on the M25 ahead of a wave of blockades on the motorway.

Breaching a court order can result in a committal for contempt of court, which, if proved, may be punished with up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Justice Lavender emphasised to those in court which injunctions are in place and encouraged people who find themselves served with a committal application to seek legal advice.

At a High Court hearing held last week, the same judge extended the three National Highways injunctions.

According to court documents from the earlier hearing, 112 people have been served with court orders related to the Insulate Britain protests.

Watch: Who are Extinction Rebellion and what do they want?

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