'Insulate Britain' Road Blockings Cost UK Millions in Police Expenses, Report Says
© TOLGA AKMENClimate change activists block traffic during a protest action in solidarity with activists from the Insulate Britain group who received prison terms for blocking roads, on Lambeth Bridge in central London on November 20, 2021.
© TOLGA AKMEN
British police have arrested and released over 120 eco-activists from the group over the past few months.
Insulate Britain protests forced the Metropolitan Police to spend around £4.3 million (almost $5.8 million) between 13 September and 20 November, PA reported on Wednesday.
According to documents obtained by PA under a freedom of information (FOI) request, 6,651 of the force's officers and staff were involved in dealing with the road blocking, which caused £3.1 million ($4.16 million) in spending. Deploying vehicles cost £600,000 ($805,000) and £300,000 ($400,000) was spent to pay for overtime.
The activists also caused more spending for other forces, including the Hertfordshire Constabulary, Surrey Police, City of London Police, and Greater Manchester Police.
Addressing the report, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated he was "appalled" by the costs.
"Not only did their guerrilla tactics wreak havoc on our roads and inflict misery to thousands of motorists, but they diverted our emergency services away from vital work, costing the UK taxpayer millions in the process", Shapps said.
Insulate Britain activists have been blocking roads across the UK since September 2021. The group demands that the government insulate all British homes by 2030 in order to reduce energy consumption, cut carbon emissions, and by this, stop climate change.