Insulate Britain’s Westminster protest blocks insulation lorry

Insulate Britain protesters delayed a lorry belonging to an insulation company on Thursday as dozens of activists blocked roads outside Parliament. The green HGV – belonging to CCF Limited and emblazoned with the word “Insulation” in large white letters – was held up by activists who glued themselves to roads in Westminster. The vehicle was pictured turning around when it could not pass a traffic light junction blocked by protesters. 

Around 60 people descended on streets around Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge at around 9am, with some 30 gluing their hands and feet to streets and police vehicles. Met officers took almost five hours to remove the protesters, having to use a cherry picker to remove one who had glued himself to the roof of a police van.

One activist climbed onto the roof of a police van during the Westminster protestCredit: Geoff Pugh/for the Telegraph Insulate Britain protesters glued themselves to road surfaces near the Houses of ParliamentCredit: Geoff Pugh/for the Telegraph

Some MPs were delayed on their way to work, including Adam Afriyie, a long-standing opponent of plans to expand Heathrow, who was set to ask a question to the Transport Secretary about the carbon cost of a third runway. Mr Afriyie was held up as he travelled to Parliament on his electric vehicle, and said he was “absolutely apoplectic” to miss the debate, describing the activists as “reprobates”. 

A spokesman for the Stop Heathrow Expansion group said: “Perhaps it never occurred to these people that these sorts of actions could actually have exactly the opposite impact to which they desire.” Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, said: “Once again these people are blocking democracy, and the fact that people are actually talking about the same issues and being blocked from doing so is totally counter-productive.” Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said: “Preventing members from getting into the chamber … is completely unacceptable.”

The Telegraph understands that the roads around Westminster are neither part of the strategic road network, nor the roads covered by Transport for London’s injunction against Insulate Britain.

Responding to questions about how long the process of removing the protesters had taken, the Metropolitan Police said: “We cannot haphazardly rush in and yank people away when they are glued.” The force said 59 arrests were made. Ben Taylor, one of the nine people going to court accused of breaking the High Court injunction later this month, was among those with his hands glued to the roads. Asked about how he felt about the prospect of going to prison for two years, he said: “It doesn’t matter what happens to me.”

Paul Sheeky, another protester at Westminster, said: “This is fine compared to what is coming from the climate crisis – this is a walk in the park, essentially.”

It was the 19th time that members of Insulate Britain had caused disruption on England’s motorway and road network.

CCF Limited was contacted for comment.