'We hate doing it' - Norwich protester on M25 sit-down after four arrests

Police officers work to free protesters who had glued themselves to a slip road at Junction 4 of the

Police officers work to free protesters who had glued themselves to a slip road at Junction 4 of the A1(M), near Hatfield, where climate activists carried out a further action after demonstrations which took place last week across junctions in Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey. Picture date: Monday September 20, 2021. - Credit: PA

A member of a Norwich campaign group has said he does not regret being arrested four times as he sat in the middle of a motorway. 

Michael Wiley, 74, and other members of Norwich Extinction Rebellion caused traffic to grind to a halt on the M25 as part of a climate change protest. 

The protest was calling for the government to insulate homes in order to reduce emissions, create jobs and "save lives over winter".

Police behind an "Insulate Britain" banner

Protestors block an M25 junction on Monday, September 13 - Credit: Supplied by Insulate Britain

Speaking about his actions, Mr Wiley said: "We have tried everything else. Direct action is the only thing that seems to work.

"It is something we all hate doing but it's saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the long run. 

"What is a few hours disruption in the long term? It's unfortunate that some people may get hurt but the government should be getting things going." 

The protester described the campaign as the "scariest thing he has ever done in his life" but he felt it was necessary to make the world "sit up and take notice".

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The Insulate Britain protest blocked parts of the M25 five times over the last fortnight.

Secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps took to Twitter to criticise the protesters for being "reckless and putting lives at risk". 

Mr Shapps said he asked National Highways to seek an injunction against the protestors which was granted by a judge this week. 

Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps spoke to Pilot at the LAA Rally at Sywell - Credit: Parliament UK / Richard Townshend Photography

But Mr Wiley said the protest was a "no-brainer" to help reduce carbon emissions, insulate homes and reduce fuel poverty.

Mr Wiley has returned to his home in Long Stratton after the protest, and is fully prepared to defend himself in court.

"Of course I mind but I think what I have done is worthwhile," Mr Shapps said.

"We are all peace-loving and non-violent but we just want the world to recover from this crisis.

"It's one big hassle but we have got to do this." 

During the protests, the government said it was "investing £1.3bn this year to support people to install energy efficiency measures", and a Heat and Buildings Strategy will set out how to decarbonise homes in a "fair, practical and affordable way".