A High Court injunction has been granted which would impose new penalties on Just Stop Oil activists for protesting 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 major traffic disruption.
The injunction, granted Monday before Judge Soole, will remain in effect until shortly before midnight on November 15, 2023.
This means that anyone entering, staying or settling on any object or structure on the M25 could be subject to contempt of court proceedings.
They could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, seizure of property or a combination of these penalties.
Around 65 people arrested by police for their involvement in the Just Stop Oil protests at the M25 gates are specifically named in the injunction.
The injunction was obtained in addition to a court order obtained by National Highways earlier this year which targeted protesters, including those in Insulate Britain.
It comes as Just Stop Oil caused traffic disruption in the capital on Monday as protesters marched slowly along Shepherd’s Bush Green, west London around 8am and also blocked traffic in Aldwych , in central London.
Scotland Yard said on Sunday that campaigners 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 crackdown on their actions. “They say 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 the government is misled and out of touch. Blindly pursuing new fossil fuel extractions as the IEA [International Energy Agency]the UN and 99% of the world’s scientists have said that this would lead to the collapse of human civilization is, in the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres, “moral and economic folly”.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said on Monday: ‘The reckless and selfish actions of a small group of protesters have kept children out of school, people out of work and health service workers. urgency of their critical work.”
He added, “Freedom of speech and lawful protest is the cornerstone of our democracy, but endangering people’s safety and livelihoods through selfish and unlawful protest activity will not be tolerated”.
Sean Martell, National Highways South East Service Delivery Manager, said: “Millions of people depend on the strategic highway system every day and they have every right to expect it to perform as it should. must.
“Climbing over structures such as gantries is extremely dangerous – both for the protesters themselves and for motorists – and we are committed to doing everything possible to seek to prevent a small minority from disrupting the network.”
Meanwhile, a group of five Just Stop Oil activists have been given suspended prison sentences for breaching an injunction by blocking access to a gas station.
Ruth Cook, 70, Joy Corrigan, 71, Dr Patrick Hart, 36, Stephen Jarvis, 66 and George Oakenfold, 78, have all admitted breaching the terms of a civil order granted to Thurrock Council and to Essex County Council.