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Nationwide Interim Injunction Obtained Preventing Insulate Britain from Protesting on the Strategic Road Network

Saira Kabir Sheikh QC
Charles Merrett

The High Court has granted an interim injunction to National Highways against persons unknown who are the blocking, slowing down, obstructing or otherwise interfering with the flow of traffic onto or off or along the Strategic Road Network (‘SRN’) for the purpose of protesting and against over 100 named defendants.

The Strategic Road Network is the biggest, and arguably most important, piece of infrastructure in the country. Its 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads are at the core of the national transport system. Whilst only being 2% of the road length, it carries 69% of lorry traffic in England. These lorries are transporting goods to and from England’s ports, airports, distribution centres, factories and consumers. The sectors of the economy most reliant (logistics, primary materials, manufacturing and construction) on the SRN are worth over £314 billion to the economy.

Insulate Britain started protesting on the SRN on 13 September 2021. National Highways had previously obtained three injunctions following protests in the South East of England.

However, given Insulate Britain’s stated commitment to carry on with their protests with renewed vigour from the 25th October, notably in the week preceding the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), National Highways decided it was necessary to apply for a nationwide pre-emptive injunction to prevent Insulate Britain from carrying out further highly disruptive protests across the SRN. 

For media coverage see the following links:

BBC
Reuters
Sky News
Government UK

Saira Kabir Sheikh QC and Charles Merrett appeared on behalf of National Highways instructed by the Government Legal Department.