The cost of eco protests: Policing Insulate Britain stunts used up 7,000 officers and £4.3m…a sum that could have insulated 3,500 homes, new figures show
- Policing Insulate Britain road protests cost at least £4.3m an investigation found
- More than 6,000 Scotland Yard officers were involved in dealing with the stunts
- The cost of policing the protests is enough to insulate about 3,500 homes
Policing Insulate Britain’s roadblocking protests cost at least £4.3million – enough to insulate about 3,500 homes – an investigation has found.
More than 6,600 Scotland Yard officers were involved in dealing with the climate group’s stunts from September to last month, Freedom of Information figures reveal.
The staff costs were £3.1million, with a further £600,000 spent on deploying vehicles and £300,000 on overtime.
Police officers arrest an Insulate Britain climate activist who had been blocking a slip road from the M25 earlier this year
Insulate Britain activists stop a car from driving towards them as they block a street in central London in October
Four other forces that assisted spent more than £300,000 solely on overtime, meaning the actual figure for policing protests in their areas was considerably higher.
It costs roughly £1,250 to insulate a four-bedroom detached house, meaning that almost 3,500 could have been insulated for the same price.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was appalled by the cost to the taxpayer and senior police officers described the figures as ‘disgusting’.
Climate activists from Insulate Britain blocking the anticlockwise carriageway of the M25 between in Ockham this September
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, pictured, said: ‘Not only did their guerrilla tactics wreak havoc on our roads and inflict misery to thousands of motorists, but they diverted our emergency services away from vital work’
Mr Shapps said: ‘I am appalled at the amount of time and public money that’s been spent policing the selfish actions of Insulate Britain.
‘Not only did their guerrilla tactics wreak havoc on our roads and inflict misery to thousands of motorists, but they diverted our emergency services away from vital work, costing the UK taxpayer millions in the process.’
Insulate Britain, which is associated with climate group Extinction Rebellion, has demanded the Government insulates all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions.
The eco-warriors blocked major roads across the country between September 13 and November 20, causing huge disruption and miles of traffic jams.
Protesters from Insulate Britain block the M25 motorway near Cobham in Surrey in September
The group frequently targeted the M25 around London, the UK’s busiest motorway, but also blocked roads in the capital, Manchester, Birmingham and the Port of Dover, Kent.
At one stage police officers were deployed at every junction of the M25.
Hertfordshire Constabulary spent at least £185,000 on the protests, Surrey Police £110,000, City of London Police £44,000 and Greater Manchester Police £10,000.
Policing Insulate Britain’s roadblocking protests cost at least £4.3million, enough to insulate about 3,500 homes, an investigation has found
Traffic built up on the M25 after Insulate Britain climate activists blocked the clockwise, and then anticlockwise, carriageway
Mr Shapps (pictured) said he was appalled by the cost to the taxpayer and senior police officers described the figures as ‘disgusting’
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said responding to the demonstrations on 70mph motorways was some of the most dangerous policing his colleagues have ever had to do.
He added: ‘It’s disgusting that we’re having to spend that sort of money on these protests.’
Police made hundreds of arrests, but many suspects returned to the roads just hours after being released from custody.
National Highways applied to the High Court for injunctions to ban protests on motorways and main roads in England, at a cost of £220,000 spent on lawyers.
Ten Insulate Britain activists have been jailed for breaching the subsequent injunctions so far, with each handed prison sentences of two to six months.
Mr Shapps said: ‘We will continue to act against this lawless behaviour while the Government gets on with tackling climate change.’
He said he is working with Home Secretary Priti Patel to ensure tougher penalties for disrupting key infrastructure such as major roads.
Insulate Britain said the group would ‘much rather money was being spent on insulating homes and helping get people out of fuel poverty’ but it vowed to continue protesting.
Spokesman Tracey Mallaghan said: ‘Our Government has proved time and time again they’re not doing what is necessary for our children, for the future. So how can we stop?’
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