PROTESTERS have blocked junctions on the M25 for a second day running

Just Stop Oil said “approximately 15” of its supporters climbed onto overhead gantries in “multiple locations” on the UK’s busiest motorway from 7am, causing police to halt traffic.

Essex Police said officers are on the northbound carriageway of the M25 near the Dartford Crossing, where a demonstrator, believed to be from Just Stop Oil, has climbed the gantry at junction 31, closing the Dartford Tunnel.

National Highways said there are currently delays of 60 minutes, with congestion for five miles.

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Police said they are responding to a protest at junction 20 of the M25 near Kings Langley and urged motorists to seek alternative routes.

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Surrey Police said two protesters have climbed motorway gantries between junctions 8 and 9 and junctions 12 and 13, stopping traffic in both directions on that part of the motorway.

The Metropolitan Police said “specialist removal teams” are dealing with protesters near junctions 14 and 15.

It went on: “We’re asking members of the public to stay in their cars and refrain from using the hard shoulder as we need access to respond to these issues and to get the roads moving for everyone as quickly as possible.”

The force said eight people have been charged with conspiracy to cause a public nuisance following protest action on the M25.

Police launched a major operation to arrest those suspected of planning to take part in demonstrations.

All eight are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

They are: Roger Hallam, 56, of Macleod Street, Walworth, south London; Tim Hewes, 72, of New Road, Charney Bassett, Wantage, Oxfordshire; Daniel Shaw, 36, of Adams Avenue, Northampton; Christopher White, 29, of Summerhouse View, Yeovil, Somerset; Karen Matthews, 60, of Sywell Road, Overstone, Northamptonshire; Ian Bates, 63, of Clarke Road, Northampton; Alexander Wilcox, 21, of Billing Road, Northampton; and Louise Lancaster, 57, of Burnt Close, Cambridge.

Protests took place at 13 locations on the M25 on Monday.

Police believe some of those involved in the demonstrations could have breached a High Court injunction obtained by National Highways.

Just Stop Oil said in a statement: “We will not be intimidated by changes to the law, we will not be stopped by private injunctions sought to silence peaceful people.

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“Our supporters understand that these are irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities.”

The Met is conducting an operation to foil the protests in conjunction with the National Police Coordination Centre.

Just Stop Oil staged 32 days of disruption from the end of September and throughout October, which the Met said resulted in 677 arrests with 111 people charged, and officers working a total of 9438 additional shifts.

According to the group, since its campaign began on April 1, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested nearly 2000 times, and five are currently in prison.

It added that the Government’s refusal to halt North Sea oil and gas extraction will contribute to global warming, which “will result in the collapse of ordered civil society, the loss of our rights and freedoms and the death of countless millions of people”.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said Just Stop Oil protesters do have a point “in (a) sense”.

He told Sky News: “I do think there’s a major issue when individuals can go on to motorways or even just outside Parliament, in fact, periodically, at will, just sit down in the middle of the road and disrupt the traffic – sometimes, indeed, emergency services get caught up in that as well.”

But when it was put to him that the environmental activists have a point, he said: “Well, they do in (a) sense. Couple of points … one is, absolutely, we are all determined, and this Government above all else is absolutely determined, to bear down on the use of fossil fuels.

“Second point I would make is that we do have to strike the right balance between the right of individuals to express their opinion and protest, which is absolutely fundamental to a civilised democracy – which is what we have in our country – and, at the other time, making sure that we don’t inconvenience the public or indeed endanger the public in some circumstances.”