Insulate Britain finally scuppered: New law to crack down on eco mob after motorway chaos
Insulate Britain activist will continue protesting after jail time
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The New Public Order Bill was unveiled in the Queen’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament, read by Prince Charles. Prince Charles said the new Public Order Bill will “ensure the police have the powers to make the streets safer”.
The Bill comes off the back of protests held by the Insulate Britain group since September 13, 2021, when demonstrators blocked key highways including parts of the M25 motorway.
The protesters became infamous for gluing themselves to the tarmac of busy roads during rush-hour traffic to raise awareness of their climate change message.
Insulate Britain is calling for the Government to commit to low-energy homes by 2030, and fully insulate all social housing by 2025.
But, as part of the new Public Order Bill, it will become a criminal offence to deliberately attach oneself to other people, objects, or buildings, with the intention of sparking significant disruption.
This will also cover those who attend protests with the equipment needed to lock themselves on to other protesters or infrastructure.
Police will also be granted more extensive stop and search powers for seizing articles involved in protest-related offences.
It will also become illegal to interfere with airports, railways, printing presses and other national infrastructure needed to keep the country running.
A number of protesters were arrested in November last year on suspicion of causing danger to road users after they blocked a main road near Manchester Airport.
Tens of people were also arrested in September after blocking part of the M25 at London’s Heathrow Airport.
The Bill will also bring Serious Disruption Prevention Orders into effect for repeat protesters.
It will be a criminal offence to breach this new preventative court order.
It will also be an offence to obstruct major transport works, including the HS2 project.
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Protesters across a number of cities in England took part in anti-HS2 demonstrations earlier this year, blocking roads and chanting messages such as ‘”HS2 – We don’t want you!”
HS2 Ltd, the company in charge of rolling out the new high-speed rail network, estimates in October that the Insulate Britain protests had cost hS2 around £80 million.
The new powers will apply across England and Wales.
Between the initial Insulate Britain protests, from September 13, 2021, to November 20, 2021, the police made just shy of 1,000 arrests relating to the demonstrations.
Between April and October 2019, Extinction Rebellion protests in London came at a cost of £37 million to policing services.
This was more than double the annual budget for London’s Violent Crime Taskforce from 2018 to 2019.
During October 2019, Extinction Rebellion protests took up over 418,000 police hours, where officers were unable to attend other duties.
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