Published: 09:40, 15 September 2021
| Updated: 16:46, 15 September 2021
Climate change protesters glued their hands to the M25 whilst parents struggled to get kids to school and truckers missed delivery deadlines.
Campaigners from Insulate Britain held a demonstration on the Blue Star roundabout around junction1b for the Dartford Crossing.
Princes Road was partially blocked and added to existing delays caused by a broken down tanker between the Darenth and Swanley Interchanges.
More than 80 eco-protesters blocked roundabouts and carriageways across the entire orbital motorway network this morning shortly after 8am.
Surrey Police said there had also been a crash, involving multiple vehicles, at Junction 9. It was “too early in the investigation” to know if the crash was linked to the protests, the force said.
Kent Police has confirmed officers were at two protests at J1A and 1B of the motorway where some people are said to have glued their hands to the road. They have since been arrested a spokesman for the group has confirmed.
The road reopened at around 1.20pm.
Insulate Britain protesters blocked off part of a busy roundabout near Dartford
Nearby Darent Valley Hospital posted on social media to warn patients of the action on the tunnel approach and advised them to allow extra time for their journey.
Mum-of-three Ciara Bennett was caught up in this morning's traffic chaos at junction 1B whilst trying to drive her autistic son, Leo, 13 to his school at Stone Lodge in Dartford.
The 33-year-old from Welling said: "We was there about 8.50am. I was trying to get my oldest son to school.
"I think we just saw the end of them coming out and sitting on the ground and putting their high vis on.
"People were left thinking what was going on. They could not understand it."
Ciara, who works in marketing, says the protesters appeared peaceful and were co-operating with police on their arrival.
But shortly after motorists were heard shouting abuse at them and it started to get "quite heated", she adds.
Ciara was one of the first to call police and says the delays to her journey meant her eldest son was late for school.
She added: "It was just really frustrating. I don't see how protesting in roads is going to insulate homes."
Instead she believes people would be more sympathetic to their cause if they were holding protests outside new homes developments in the area.
Another young mum, Chloe Sullivan also expressed frustration at today's protests which twice delayed her journey.
The 30-year-old from Snodland said: "When I dropped my kids off and came back round to join the M25 I got stuck in it for a further 20-25 minutes.
"They were still there and there were lots and lots of cars. The police were there but they were ushering the traffic because it cut off the whole route."
The mum-of-four, who works at a granary based in Maidstone, says this week's protests have had a major "knock-on" effect on trade.
She said: "I was late to work. And also where I work we have lorries that have to deliver grains to certain end destinations in a certain time slot.
"So it has completely put them all back and out for the rest of the day because not only do they have to get to these places to deliver, they then have a job straight after."
Despite this Chloe says she is not opposed to the demonstrations in principle and recognises "things do need to change".
But the laboratory manager labelled their approach "idiotic", explaining "Certain things they do they are not thinking about how many other people are affected.
"The company would have lost six hours worth of money there because they couldn't do the job that they needed to do.
She added: "I feel they have contradicted themselves by causing more congestion, more pollution by having cars standing still with their engines on."
Social media users were also irate at the disruption to people's working lives.
One Twitter user said: "A 20 minute journey has turned into 45mins. Like the Dartford crossing ain’t(sic) bad enough."
Another said: "Second day this week protestors sitting in the road near the Dartford Crossing. Gridlock. Apparently they can’t be physically removed. To say my heart is filled with joy is an overstatement."
@Kupo83said: "I understand the need to highlight climate causes but think this is a bit counter productive. Lots of cars/lorries stuck in traffic will increase emissions."
Other areas affected included junctions 10 in Surrey, 23 for Hertfordshire and 25 for Cheshunt.
Insulate Britain says its actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million leaky homes.
It comes after widespread traffic chaos on Monday – including on the roundabout at junction 20 for the Swanley Interchange – after the group staged a series of sit-in protests and clashed with drivers.
Following this incident Kent Police arrested 12 people on suspicion of obstructing a highway. They were later released while officers determined "an appropriate course of action".
President of motoring insurance group AA, Edmund King, said that during the last Insulate Britain blockade, a thermal insulation engineer was prevented from going to work after being stuck in the traffic queue.
On Wednesday he said: “Whilst most people understand the need to take action on climate change, these motorway blockade tactics are just backfiring as they are alienating the working public stuck in this chaos and subsequently pumping out more emissions.
“It is somewhat ironic that thermal insulation engineers trying to insulate Britain were stuck in the congestion caused by Insulate Britain.
“Essential deliveries, emergency services, people missing hospital and business appointments are all hit by these blockades."
Insulate Britain said in a statement: “We demand credible action now.
“Proper jobs for hundreds of thousands of people to start the first real step – to insulate all the homes of this country – which pound for pound gives us the biggest reduction in carbon emissions.
“It is a total no-brainer and yet this government refuses to get on with the job. This is criminal negligence.”
The group has defended its choice of action which has come under fire from some on social media for its disruption to working people.
Speaking to KMTV, Shane Collins from Insulate Britain, said: "Unfortunately the other methods of writing letters, of voting once every four years, of campaigning are just not having the desired effect.
"The government, whilst it has good targets for 2050, we are not hitting the milestones to get to those targets."
Instead Shane adds we are going in "completely the opposite direction".
"There's a huge road building programme," he said. "Pretty much every airport in the country wants to expand.
"The government is giving licences to new coal fields and new oil exploration."