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Climate protest group Insulate Britain is accusing the National Highways of failing to take standard safety measures to cut traffic speeds as motorists approach their motorway blockades.

The group, which is carrying out a series of climate protests, mainly on the M25, is demanding the government take action to cut the UK’s emissions by insulating Britain’s housing stock.

It points to research which shows that 20% of Britain’s emissions come from the country’s poorly insulated housing stock and a report by the House of Commons Climate Committee which highlights housing as a key source of emissions that needs to be cut, if the government is to meet its carbon emission targets.

The protests which started last week, and took place over four days, saw traffic grind to a halt on the M25 as protestors sat on the motorway or on slip roads, some glueing their hands to the road.

This week the group began another round of motorway blockages as it pledged to carry on blocking motorways until the government meets its demands. The campaign saw another 41 protestors arrested today (20 September) after blocking the anti-clockwise exit slip road at junction 18, Chorleywood, Herts.

A separate protest took place near junction 4 at the Stanborough Interchange of the A1 (M), near Hatfield. A third incident saw Kent Police prevent protesters from gaining access to the M25 carriageway at junction 1A, the Dartford River Crossing.

In a statement released yesterday the protestors said it had appealed to National Highways, which it refers to as the Highways Agency, asking it to reduce the speed limit on the M25 ahead of the blockade. It said: “On Sunday, Insulate Britain wrote to the Highways Agency and the Police forces responsible for the M25 network, informing them that the campaign would continue at 7am today.

“The letter contained a request that the Highways Agency review their previous decision not to reduce speed limits on the motorway during the protest. This is a standard safety procedure when hazards occur on the motorway and Insulate Britain is surprised that it has not formed part of the Agency’s response to the campaign to date.”

National Highways confirmed it had received a request from Insulate Britain to reduce the speed limit from 70mph to 20mph on the M25 but after consulting with the Met Police it had denied the request.

Regional director Nicola Bell said: “Our road network is integral for our customers’ journeys and is the backbone of the country’s economy; connecting people, building communities and helping people go about their daily lives.

“Our primary concern is always safety, but changing speed limits in advance of any incident creates a far greater risk to the wider travelling public.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, has condemned the protests as "irresponsible" and "dangerous" whilst police have warned they have “robust" plans in place to minimise disruption.

One of the protesters told BBC Three Counties Radio: "The scale of what is coming with the climate crisis forces us to take action. The measures are disruptive and they unfortunately have to be. This is no fun doing this. We are running rapidly out of time. We are stepping up because the government is critically failing."

He said further blockades were planned and that protesters were willing to go to prison to make their point.

The group is demanding the UK government immediately promises to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025; and that the UK government immediately promises to produce within four months a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit, with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030.