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Monday, October 18, 2021

Insulate Britain pauses roadblocks to give PM ‘chance to do the right thing’

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Insulate Britain has said it is pausing its roadblock campaign for 10 days, in a letter to the prime minister calling on him to “get on with the job” of insulating Britain’s homes.

A spokesperson for the group said the decision was taken midway through last week, to give the government time to consider its demands. Its five-week campaign of direct action has caused disruption on motorways and busy roads in and around London.

“We are hearing that ministers are talking about it and we want to give the government a chance to do the right thing,” the spokesperson said.

In its open letter to Boris Johnson, the group said: “Ahead of Cop26, Insulate Britain will suspend its campaign of civil resistance until Monday 25 October. We invite you to make a meaningful statement that we can trust, a statement that the country wants to hear: that your government will live up to its responsibilities to protect us, to defend law and order; that your government will take the lead needed to insulate and retrofit our homes; that it will ‘get on with the job’ so families can feed their children and keep their homes warm.”

Since 13 September, Insulate Britain has staged 13 days of direct action on the M25 and M4, major arterial roads in London, as well as around the port of Dover. Police have made hundreds of arrests, although the group says it has only about 120 active members.

With its strategy of repeated and concerted civil disobedience, it had hoped to provoke the authorities into holding members on remand so that the UK would have “climate prisoners” being held when the Cop26 climate summit opens in Glasgow at the end of the month. However, despite some having been arrested 10 or 11 times, no members are on remand.

The government has responded by taking out injunctions against the group, banning it from protesting on specific sections of the strategic road network, which Insulate Britain has defied. Breaching an injunction can lead to charges of contempt of court and a jail sentence.

On Tuesday a return hearing at the high court in London for three injunctions was adjourned for a week so that they could be heard alongside a fourth. Mr Justice Lavender said he could use that hearing to timetable any trial for those found to be in breach of the injunctions.

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