National Highways has made nine applications to the High Court for contempt of court against Insulate Britain activists for breaching injunctions by ‘dangerously’ blocking the M25 during their protests.
The court will need to decide whether members of the environmental campaign group breached orders that were made earlier this month.
Protesters could face fines and even jail time if found to be in breach.
It comes as Insulate Britain today warned that they will restart their road blockade protests next week, causing misery for families on half-term holidays.
The group said it would ‘rise up against tyranny’ in response to the Government’s Net Zero reports which it said ‘completely fail to meet the challenges we now face’.
Insulate Britain had previously said on October 14 that it was pausing its protests – which have brought misery to motorists across London – until Monday, October 25.
Insulate Britain activists are removed from an M25 roundabout near Heathrow last month
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the activists now face potential prison time
Mother who rammed activists with her car brands them ‘terrorists’
Sherrilyn Speid, 34
A mother who rammed Insulate Britain activists with her Range Rover this week branded the group ‘terrorists’ as she claimed the women she hit faked their ‘ow ow’ cries.
Sherrilyn Speid, 34, of Purfleet, Essex, was accused of ‘attempted murder’ by one climate activist after she gently drove her car into protesters blocking traffic lights at Junction 31 of the M25 near Thurrock on October 13.
Footage – filmed by another person at the protest – showed Ms Speid get out of her Range Rover to confront the protesters after she was blocked in while bringing her son, 11, to school.
She said: ‘I was absolutely fuming they were in the road blocking me from taking my son to school. How dare they have the audacity to do that?’
A spokesperson for National Highways said: ‘National Highways is now taking the first group of activists from Insulate Britain to court, for breaching injunctions by blocking the M25.
‘We will continue working with the police to bring those who carried out dangerous and disruptive action to justice.
‘Those activists will now receive a court summons and could face imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
‘Timings are now in the hands of the court but we expect hearings will take place as soon as possible.’
National Highways confirmed that so far nine applications for committal have been made to the High Court.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We’re taking the 1st group of activists from Insulate Britain to court for dangerous & self-defeating action along the M25. They now face potential prison time.
‘National Highways will work with police to bring more of these activists to justice & prevent further reckless action.’
Members of Insulate Britain were previously made subject to three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.
On Tuesday, a judge at the Royal Courts of Justice extended an injunction granted to Transport for London (TfL) against Insulate Britain.
TfL was granted a civil banning order aimed at preventing protesters from obstructing traffic on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
According to court documents from an earlier hearing, 112 people have been served with court orders related to the Insulate Britain protests.
Hundreds of arrests have been made with protesters blockading motorway junctions and roundabouts since September 13 by running onto the road as the lights go red.
They have focused their protests on rush hours to cause maximum impact, with motorists taking it upon themselves to remove them when police are slow to arrive.
Insulate Britain said today they would rise up against the Government’s Net Zero reports.
A spokesman said: ‘Insulate Britain has considered the British Government‘s Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Net Zero Strategy and the Cost of Net Zero report.
‘We concluded that, while these would have been a good first step 30 years ago, they completely fail to meet the challenges we now face.
‘What we need in this ‘period of consequence’ is a wartime style national effort, a united front of shared sacrifice, not a plan to cross your fingers and hope for the best.
‘Therefore Insulate Britain will continue our campaign of nonviolent civil resistance.’
Insulate Britain, which is an offshoot from Extinction Rebellion, claimed that the Government’s ‘plan to decarbonise our homes fails on almost every measure’.
It said the £450million allocated to grants for heat pumps will help only 30,000 households a year, which is a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared with the 900,000 a year required by the Climate Change Committee by 2028.
A spokesman concluded: ‘Our ancestors fought a civil war to remove such tyranny from these islands and sacrificed their lives to win the rights and freedoms we now enjoy as citizens.
‘Today it is our turn, our responsibility, to rise up against tyranny. We owe that to our ancestors, to our fellow citizens and to those that come after us in the great chain of life.’
On Tuesday, an injunction aimed at stopping Insulate Britain protesters blocking roads in London was extended by a High Court judge.
London’s transport network was granted the order earlier this month, aimed at preventing the actvists obstructing cars on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
Members of the protest group have already been hit with three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Insulate Britain members were given the chance to address the court.
Police remove Insulate Britain activists as they block junction 31 of the M25 on October 31
Despite their campaign being on a temporary pause, they have repeatedly shown their contempt for the injunctions by disobeying them and burning papers copies.
Breaching a court order can result in a committal for contempt of court, which, if proved, may be punished with up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
The judge, Mr Justice Lavender, said on Tuesday that the injunction was extended either until a trial is held in the case or a further court order or April 8 next year.
Dr Diana Warner, from the group, said National Highways should reduce motorway speed limits to as low as 10mph when Insulate Britain protests on a carriageway.