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Now eco-mob block the Blackwall Tunnel, Hanger Lane, Wandsworth Bridge and Arnos Grove

Enviro-idiots have shut down four corners of London by blocking the Blackwall Tunnel, Hanger Lane, Wandsworth Bridge and Arnos Grove this morning while police officers idly stand by – just 24 hours after Ministers threatened six-month jail terms for protesters.

Demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion offshoot Insulate Britain clashed with motorists as they blocked major roads across the capital, causing huge tailbacks close to the centre of the city on what is the group’s eleventh day of protests in recent weeks. 

Police previously complained that they have lacked sufficient powers to stop eco-protesters from bringing some of the UK’s arterial roads such as the M25, M1 and M4 to a standstill. They have faced intense scrutiny for failing to move the activists off the roads quickly.

Today’s rush hour demo comes just 24 hours after Boris Johnson threatened to lock up activists who cause gridlocks on vital transport arteries for six months or impose unlimited fines in a bid to get tough as the Tory Party conference opens in Manchester. 

Scroll down for videos. 

This is the moment a van driver attempted to get round Insulate Britain protesters as they started to block the A12 at the Blackwall Tunnel

Activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Enviro-idiots have sparked traffic chaos yet again by blocking Blackwall Tunnel

Enviro-idiots have sparked traffic chaos yet again by blocking Blackwall Tunnel

Activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Police detain activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group as they block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Police detain activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group as they block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Police detain activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group as they block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Police detain activists from Insulate Britain climate change protest group as they block the Hangar Lane gyratory on the A40 junction with the North Circular in West London

Mr Johnson said: ‘This Government will always stand on the side of the law-abiding majority and ensure the toughest penalties possible for criminals who deliberately bring major roads to a standstill.

‘We will give the police the powers they need to stop their reckless and selfish behaviour. The right to protest is sacrosanct, but there is no right to inflict chaos and misery on people trying to go about their lives.’

The Prime Minister outlined his hardline stance against the backdrop of the separate road chaos caused by the ‘absolutely horrendous’ fuel crisis, which has led to a critical shortage of petrol on forecourts across London and the South East of England.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will this week unveil the crackdown on motorway protests, with tougher sentences introduced by amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

While National Highways has been granted injunctions to prevent people from obstructing roads, officers cannot arrest people for flouting the court orders because it is a civil not a criminal matter.

The new laws are expected to be on the statute book by the turn of the year. However, Whitehall sources remain wary that the government can only go so far in terms of restricting disruption.

Under the legislation, activists who bring vital transport arteries to a standstill will face up to six months in prison. Pictured: A protester occupying an M25 roundabout is detained

Under the legislation, activists who bring vital transport arteries to a standstill will face up to six months in prison. Pictured: A protester occupying an M25 roundabout is detained

It comes after the separate road chaos caused by the fuel crisis, which has led to a critical shortage of petrol. Pictured: Activists block the road near to the junction 3 of the M25

It comes after the separate road chaos caused by the fuel crisis, which has led to a critical shortage of petrol. Pictured: Activists block the road near to the junction 3 of the M25

The move follows complaints from the police that they have lacked sufficient powers to stop eco-protesters. Pictured: Protesters from Insulate Britain block the A20 in Kent

The move follows complaints from the police that they have lacked sufficient powers to stop eco-protesters. Pictured: Protesters from Insulate Britain block the A20 in Kent

An offence of ‘obstructing a highway’ already exists, but carries only a maximum fine of £1,000.

The proposed increased penalties will mean police can remand protesters in custody after charging them, and create a criminal record for them.

Insulate Britain – which is demanding the Government pay for all homes in the country to be insulated by 2030 – has brought major roads to a standstill with eleven protests in less than three weeks. Around 450 arrests have been made so far.

The Government obtained an injunction meaning anyone blocking the M25 could be found to be in contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

So far the first injunction, taken out on September 21, has had little to no effect on the protests – and appears to have made the campaigners even more focused on causing as much disruption as possible around the capital.

The injunctions do not give the police extra powers, and instead give National Highways the ability to apply to a court to find someone in contempt of court. But this makes no immediate difference and can take months to sort.   

A senior Government source last night said: ‘We can’t have Labour councillors and crusties making life hell for mothers on the school run and van drivers making vital deliveries. The law does not currently reflect the serious disruption caused by these dangerous actions.’

Ms Patel said: ‘The right to protest is a fundamental principle of our democracy but we will not tolerate guerrilla tactics that obstruct people going about their day-to-day business. 

‘That is why we will increase the maximum penalty for disrupting a motorway to an unlimited fine or up to six months in prison – or both.

‘While the Labour Party stand on the side of these so-called ‘activists’, the Conservative Party will always back the law-abiding, hard-working majority in this country.’

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