With all the recent problems of driver shortages, the pingdemic and Brexit, the UK’s transport logistics sector has been feeling the strain and shop shelves have been far less full than normal.
For that reason, the last thing anyone needed was further disruption, but this has been happening on a lot of roads, particularly in and around London, due to the emergence of a new protest group.
Insulate Britain has taken its cue from Extinction Rebellion in using direct action, with its activists staging sit-down protests to block various highways. These have included the M25, the Dartford Crossing and other important roads. The group wants the government to do more to insulate every home in Britain and believes such action is the only way to get its message through.
This has led to lorry drivers being stuck in traffic jams as protestors have remained intransigent to all pleas to allow people past, with even ambulances being blocked off. Some protestors have glued themselves to the road to make it harder for the police – or even angry motorists taking matters into their own hands – to drag them off.
For all these reasons, hauliers will be among those breathing a sigh of relief as the group has now announced it is to suspend its road blockages until October 25th, ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
In a statement, the group said: “Insulate Britain would like to take this opportunity to profoundly acknowledge the disruption caused over the past five weeks.”
It added: “We cannot imagine undertaking such acts in normal circumstances. But the dire reality of our situation has to be faced.”
Of course, it could be that this is just a hiatus and freight traffic will be subjected to further disruption after October 25th, despite court injunctions and the threat of jail sentences.
So far, the group has done little to win people over, not least when its spokesman Liam Norton was accused of being a hypocrite for failing to insulate his own home. It remains to be seen if the leaders of the group will use the break to reflect on their tactics and question whether road blockages are such a good idea.
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