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Cambridge campaigners among Insulate Britain campaigners blocking M25

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Four campaigners from the Cambridge region were among those blocking the M25 today to demand that the government takes action on home insulation.

Traffic at several junctions around the M25 was brought to a standstill by Insulate Britain protesters, with Cameron Ford, from Whittlesford, and Cambridge residents Priyadaka, David McKenny and Donald Bell taking part at a roundabout in Surrey.

Insulate Britain campaigners block the M25. Picture: Insulate Britain (51171343)
Insulate Britain campaigners block the M25. Picture: Insulate Britain (51171343)

In social media videos, they apologised for the disruption but said the government had failed to ensure homes were sufficiently insulated despite it being a relatively cheap and non-disruptive change. This, they argued, proved ministers had failed to live up to promises of bold action on climate change.

Cameron, a 30-year-old carpenter from Whittlesford, said: “We have limited time to reduce our carbon emissions and insulating homes is a no-brainer. It lifts the most vulnerable out of fuel poverty and creates thousands of jobs. We need no more empty campaign promises, Prime Minister. We need to join on this, and just get on with it.”

Priyadaka, a 60-year-old Buddhist teacher and charity fundraiser, told viewers: “When you see this I might be on remand or in police cells. I’m genuinely sorry for any disruption I might be causing but the campaign to insulate all homes in Britian is clearly a no-brainer and it’s one the government has promised to do. So Boris, you need to put your words into action.”

The protests took place at junctions 31 for Lakeside in Essex, 20 for Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, 14 for Heathrow Terminal Five, six for Godstone in Surrey, and three for Swanley in Kent.

Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey police all made arrests, with officers closing slip roads and setting up diversions in some areas as they attempted to calm tempers.

The action left many drivers infuriated and some confronted the protesters. Others took to Twitter to voice their objections.

Meanwhile, some were philosophical.

Essex police said at 11.45am: “Twelve people have been arrested after a roundabout which connects with the M25 at junction 3, near Swanley, was obstructed.

“The individuals were detained on suspicion of obstructing a highway and remain in custody. The road is now clear.”

Surrey police said it had arrested “a number of people” following the protests at Junction six and 14, which began at 8am.

Insulate Britain has pledged to continue its activity until the government makes a “meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes”, which it described as “some of the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe”.

Insulate Britain campaigners block the M25. Picture: Insulate Britain (51171345)
Insulate Britain campaigners block the M25. Picture: Insulate Britain (51171345)

Insulate Britain spokesperson Nathaniel Squire, a 25-year-old osteopath from Redruth, said “Insulating Britain’s homes is a simple step to take to decarbonise Britain. Not only is it a necessary step towards achieving the government's net zero targets but it also helps millions of vulnerable people in Britain.

“Working as a healthcare professional I know that many who struggle due to fuel poverty will only increase as the planet continues to warm unless we do something now. The Insulate Britain campaign is holding the government to account regarding their net zero targets.”

In its report on housing, the UK Committee on Climate Change advocated retrofitting homes back in 2019, saying they were not fit for the future.

It reported: “The 29 million existing homes across the UK must be made low carbon, low-energy and resilient to a changing climate. This is a UK infrastructure priority and should be supported as such by HM Treasury. Homes should use low-carbon sources of heating such as heat pumps and heat networks. The uptake of energy efficiency measures such as loft and wall insulation must be increased. At the same time, upgrades or repairs to homes should include increasing the uptake of: passive cooling measures (shading and ventilation); measures to reduce indoor moisture; improved air quality and water efficiency; and, in homes at risk of flooding, the installation of property-level flood protection.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been approached for comment.

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