People Glue Themselves to Major Highway as Part of Environmental Protest, Halting Traffic

Hoping to pressure the British government to insulate all homes within a decade, environmental protestors created roadblocks along London's major ring road on Monday.

The group offered an apology for the traffic disruptions but said they would continue with the action until talks take place. It was the fourth time in less than two weeks that the "Insulate Britain" protestors blocked entry roads on M25, one of Britain's busiest highways, by gluing themselves to the road and painting their name on it with a blue heart.

Insulate Britain says it wants the Conservative government to insulate "all of Britain's 29 million leaky homes by 2030, and all social housing by 2025." The policy is a response to rapidly progressing climate change.

"We cannot imagine undertaking such acts in normal circumstances," Insulate Britain said in the letter. "But we hope you will find it within yourself to come and meet with us in open dialogue, not so that we can agree but more that we can understand our differences. As soon as we have a meaningful statement we can all trust, we will immediately call off the campaign. That is all we ask."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

m25 Highway
Insulate Britain protestors glued themselves to the M25 entry road on Monday as part of a campaign to pressure the Conservative government into taking measures to protect the British people from climate change. Pictured, a near deserted M25/M23 junction on January 17, 2021 in Surrey, England. Chris Gorman/Getty Images

Chief Superintendent Nick Caveney from the Hertfordshire Constabulary, which made a further 29 arrests Monday for a total of 76 overall, warned of more traffic misery ahead and said police were doing everything they can to stop the protests before they cause traffic chaos.

Other police forces around the 117-mile (188-kilometer) ring road have also made dozens of arrests. Kent Police said Monday that a dozen protesters were arrested at the Dartford River Crossing, east of the British capital, on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance before they were able to gain access to the road.

In an open letter to Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, the activist group said it wanted to "profoundly apologize for the disruption" and offered to call off the campaign if the government opened up a dialogue.

Although dozens of protesters have been arrested over the four demonstrations, police are being urged to take swifter action to end the protests.

"We are taking powers to be able to remove protesters when they are threatening critical national infrastructure, when they are threatening to cause serious economic damage and I think that is entirely right," Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters Sunday on the RAF Voyager while heading to New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

"And no, I don't think these people do any favors to their cause. I think that what they do is detract from a very important moral mission that is widely shared now by the people of this country," he added.

Johnson is in New York to help eke out climate commitments from countries around the world ahead of Britain's hosting in November of the 26th global U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in the Scottish city of Glasgow.