New M25 High Court injunction could mean imprisonment and heavy fines for protestors

Protestors entering the M25 could face imprisonment
Protestors entering the M25 could face imprisonment

A new injunction has been granted by the High Court, meaning anyone stepping foot on the M25 motorway without permission from National Highways could face prison, an unlimited fine, a seizure of assets – or a combination of all three.

Designed to deter disruptive protesting from groups such as Just Stop Oil, the decision was made on Monday, November 28, by the Honourable Mr Justice Soole and will remain in place until midnight on November 15, 2023.

In a statement, Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP said: “The reckless, selfish actions of a small group of protestors has stopped children getting to school, people getting to work, and emergency service workers from their critical work.

“That’s why, in my first week as Transport Secretary, I instructed National Highways to secure
an injunction in anticipation of upcoming disruption,” he continued. “I have followed this up by ordering National Highways to secure this further injunction on the M25.

“Free speech and lawful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but putting people’s safety and livelihoods at risk due to unlawful protests will not be tolerated.”

The M25 is England’s busiest motorway, with an estimated 200,000 vehicles using it every day. In early November, it was targeted by Just Stop Oil protesters over a four-day period, causing closure on safety grounds due to activists climbing the gantries and even scaling the Dartford Bridge.

Under the new High Court injunction, anyone entering, remaining, or affixing themselves to any object or structure on the M25 (or assisting with it) without National Highways’ consent could face civil proceedings for contempt of court. In addition, they may also have to pay National Highways’ legal costs.