St Albans activist joins protest blocking M25
- Credit: Insulate Britain
A St Albans campaigner joined 20 climate activists in blocking the M25 near Kings Langley during the Monday morning rush-hour.
The group, which represent Insulate Britain, jammed the motorway at Junction 20, bringing traffic to a standstill.
Insulate Britain says the disruption was just the start, and actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes, which they say are some of the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.
St Albans resident Eli Rose, one of the activists taking part in the protest said: "We all know that the Government wants to ‘Build Back Better’.
"What better way to do that, than to insulate our houses. That would massively reduce emissions and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs. It is also easy and uses well established and readily available materials.
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"It would also reduce heating bills for hard working families – particularly those low income families that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. It is a win-win-win. The Government know what needs to be done. They just need to get on and do it."
There were similar protests at other junctions, including Heathrow terminal four, Swanley in Kent, Godstone, Surrey and Lakeside, Essex, and all were reopened by lunchtime.
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Herts police arrested 18 people in connection with the demonstrations.
This action comes after a series of unprecedented floods, storms and wildfires wreaked havoc across the globe this summer and the latest UN climate report which has put the world on red alert.
A group headed by Sir David King, ex-chief scientific adviser to the UK Government, says that there is now no carbon budget left to spend if we want to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5oC.
The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said that we will not meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions without a complete decarbonisation of Britain’s homes which it says should be a national infrastructure priority.
Research from thinktank Onward has suggested that between 900,000 and 1.3 million new jobs could be created in low-carbon heating and energy efficiency if the government follows the Climate Change Committee’s carbon reduction recommendations.
Fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA) has pointed out that in our last ‘normal’ winter 8,500 lives were lost because of cold and leaky homes. Low incomes, high energy costs and poor heating and insulation all combined to leave them in conditions which were unfit to help them survive the cold weather.
AA president Edmund King, who lives in St Albans, said: “This action is not only incredibly dangerous in potentially putting lives at risk but it also backfires in environmental terms by casing more delays and more vehicle emissions.
"These are some of the busiest sections of the M25 where tens of thousands of drivers will have been affected and has a negative knock-on effect on economic activity. It is also irresponsible to potentially delay ambulances, and those with essential hospital appointments for up to four hours.
“There are legitimate ways to protest but these actions are more likely to alienate support.”
Commenting on the news, St Albans resident Dr Mangala Patil Mead, a consultant in occupational medicine said: "As hosts of the Glasgow COP, the UK is in a unique position to show real leadership on climate action. And yet our government is not even close to setting an example for other countries to follow.
"In fact, much of what they are doing will make the climate crisis even more damaging. A new oilfield in Shetland, no attempt to curb air travel, and the biggest ever road building programme are just a few examples of their climate destroying policies. They must be brought to their senses. This action, radical as it is, might just do that."
Insulate Britain’s demands for the Prime Minister were delivered by hand to Downing Street, but so far no-one in government has responded.