Local residents in Kingston have conveyed their dissatisfaction at the road traffic disruption caused by climate protest group Insulate Britain over the last six weeks.
New Malden resident Emma Fielding said: “They’re a nightmare. That climate group made me late to work every single day they were pulling their antics on the M25.”
The activists have blocked major motorways and roads in London, including the M1 and M25.
Insulate Britain is a recently formed climate pressure group that calls for a national programme to ensure homes are insulated by 2030. Government experts on climate change have said that this is necessary to meeting targets on reducing carbon emissions.
However, some Kingston residents believe the group is targeting the wrong people.
“I don’t know what those protestors think they’re achieving by gluing themselves to the ground and refusing to move,” said local resident Abdul Zafa. “They should be finding ways to impact businesses and the government rather than disrupting and inconveniencing the lives of normal people.”
Insulate Britain has said it “profoundly” recognises the disruption it has caused.
Spokesperson for Insulate Britain Liam Norton said: “We cannot imagine undertaking such acts in normal circumstances. But we believe that the reality of our situation has to be faced.”
The climate group is trying to protect “thousands of millions of people who will lose their lives through slaughter and starvation as society collapses,” said Norton.
Hundreds of the group’s members have been arrested with many activists being dragged off the roads by police officers.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged Insulate Britain to stop campaigning. “Sitting on roads and preventing everyone else from going about their lawful business is downright dangerous and counterproductive.”
As of 14 October, Insulate Britain has suspended protests for 11 days ahead of the United Nations COP26 climate conference. The conference is being hosted in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November where 200 countries will discuss their plans to cut emissions by 2030.
Kingston local Douglas Trainor said: “Thank god they’ve been gone these last few days. I do a lot of driving around for my job and they’ve caused me a lot of trouble.”
Teddington resident Laila Morris, 23 said that she feels “frustrated” by Insulate Britain’s actions. “I understand what it is they’re protesting about and I agree with it to an extent. But they’re going about it the wrong way,” she said.
Morris said she had missed a “really good job opportunity” after she failed to get to her interview on time because she got stuck in a traffic jam caused by protestors.
Anisha from Surbiton said: “I’m glad Insulate Britain have stopped blocking roads for now but I’m not looking forward to seeing what they’ll do after this conference.”
Insulate Britain has said it will restart protests if Boris Johnson doesn’t deliver a “meaningful or trustworthy statement” on improving the insulation in British homes.