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Perishable goods haulier PML has heavily criticised the climate change group Just Stop Oil after its supporters scaled the masts of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Crossing and caused widespread disruption to drivers.

MD Mike Parr said the actions of the group were “irresponsible, irrational and incredibly dangerous” and said the ramifications of their actions were massive.

On the second day of bringing the M25 to a standstill, resulting in delays of around three hours and miles of congestion in both directions, lorries including those operated by PML, carrying temperature sensitive food items were forced to either sit tight or seek an alternative route.

Parr said: “Our drivers are being put under considerable stress, knowing that the cargo they are carrying is time critical since every hour wasted in traffic represents an hour off the shelf life of these goods.

“In addition to this, they have also been put in a position such that even when they are clear of the chaotic scenes at the Dartford Crossing, they can no longer continue driving to try and make up time because legally they have to take a break after being at the wheel, regardless of whether they are at a standstill, every four and a half hours.

Parr added: “Having lorries and all traffic stop and start over such an extended period of time is certainly not helping the carbon emissions agenda.

“And for a campaign group that wants to put a stop to the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels, it is somewhat ironic that the protest has resulted in even more fuel being used as drivers trying to find alternative routes add unnecessary miles to their journey.”

Essex police said on Tuesday afternoon a special raised platform was being brought in as it considered all options to resolve the situation.

It said two people remained at height on the bridge and they would be arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance.

Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: “We are working as quickly and as safely as possible to resolve this situation.

“The two people who remain at height on the bridge have put themselves in considerable danger and as a result, we and our emergency services face a considerable challenge.

“Our priority is to keep our county moving but we also have a duty of care to the two people, as well as those who may be involved in any resolution at height.”