Just Stop Oil protestors have closed three lanes of the M25, adding an hour to journey times, as they tell drivers to avoid the motorway this week.
Around nine miles of traffic has built up along the M25 between Cobham and Guildford after the activists began their protest shortly after 8am, causing delays stretching back to Heathrow Airport.
In a statement released today, Just Stop Oil said it was ‘declaring the M25 a site of civil resistance’ and asked that ‘no one travels on this motorway from Wednesday to Friday this week as we will be blocking the highway’.
It added: ‘We fully acknowledge the cost and disruption this will cause to the public and ask that they take their demands for compensation to the government which has caused this unprecedented threat to our lives and liberties.’
And at the site today, two of the protestors said: ‘We are currently on a gantry above the M25. It is very loud up here and very windy. We have dropped a banner over the edge, securely tied, that says Just Stop Oil because that is what our government must do.
‘It must stop new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea. We are risking our civil liberty being up here, we do not want to be up here, but we feel it is what we must do.’
Highways England tweeted: ‘3 lanes (of 4) are now closed on the M25 anti-clockwise in Surrey within J10 (A3 for Guildford) due to an ongoing Surrey Police led incident.
‘This incident is likely to be ongoing for some time. There’s now over a 60 minute delay on approach with 9 miles of congestion.’
A Just Stop Oil banner hanging over the M25 anticlockwise in Surrey during the protest this morning
The latest demonstrations have been brought on following a heatwave that saw the UK record its hottest ever day on Tuesday.
Temperatures hit an unprecedented 40.3C (104.54) in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, yesterday beating records.
A Just Oil spokesperson added: ‘The main thing is, we’ve just seen 40-degree temperatures, which have been predicted for decades, maybe it’s happening a bit faster, but it has just revealed how inadequate the Government’s preparations for climate change are and their entire policy, and basically, we’re just saying, it’s evident now we cannot continue.’
The group demands the government make a ‘meaningful statement’ that they will commit to stop licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK, which they say is ‘the necessary first step to ensuring a liveable future’.