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National Highways obtains extension to injunction covering major roads in the South East

A 12-month extension to an injunction imposed as part of measures to deter protesters from disrupting some of England’s busiest roads has been granted by the High Court

The injunction covering the M25, M25 feeder roads and major roads in Kent was originally obtained by National Highways last May and will now remain in place for a further year – until 23.59 hrs on 10 May 2024.

The extension of the injunction, secured following a court hearing on Monday 24 April 2023 before Mr Justice Cotter, is intended to prevent unlawful protests on the busy orbital motorway around Greater London, roads which interchange with the motorway and the roads leading to and around the Dover ports.

Anyone found to be in breach of the injunction order may face civil proceedings for contempt of court. They could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, the seizure of assets or a combination of all three for breaching an injunction order.

The M25 is the country’s busiest motorway and has previously been the focus of hugely disruptive protest action, most recently in November last year. It is used by up to 200,000 vehicles each day, supporting journeys in and around London, providing connections to the South East ports and acting as a vital link to the rest of England’s road network. Dover is the busiest port in the country and is a major trade route with Europe.

Given Just Stop Oil’s ongoing campaign of causing major disruption, National Highways remains concerned that the motorways, predominantly in the South East, will continue to be targeted by protesters in the future.

The injunction obtained by National Highways is part of ongoing efforts by National Highways to deter protests on the strategic road network. A further injunction was obtained in November last year and specifically covers the structures on the M25, including overhead gantries, which Just Stop Oil targeted that month.

Tim Reardon, National Highways’ General Counsel, said:

"Millions of people rely on the strategic road network every day and they have a right to expect it to operate as it should.

“We are really pleased to have obtained an extension to this injunction, so anyone intending to protest on the M25, its feeder routes and main roads around the Port of Dover – in additional to structures on the M25 - will run the risk of imprisonment, an unlimited fine or a seizure of assets, or a combination of all three.”

National Highways continues to work closely and collaboratively with police forces across areas affected by unlawful protest activity with the aim of keeping disruption to the public to a minimum.

In addition to these civil injunctions, the police separately have a range of powers under criminal laws that they can use to charge offenders with offences relating to protests on roads.

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