The M25 continues to be closed in both directions this evening after protestors managed to climb over crash barriers and sit in the middle of the motorway at a number of different junctions. According to the leader of the protest group End The Orbital Ripoff, the large-scale protest has been organised to make a stand against the companies based within the M25 who charge ‘exorbitant’ fees to deliver goods outside of it.
Shortly after 3pm on Sunday afternoon, the co-ordinated operation began with ten teams of ten people each walking onto various sections of the M25 and spreading themselves out across both carriageways – each group was organised to bring traffic to a complete standstill. Once police patrol vehicles had managed to remove all traffic from the motorway in both directions, they were left with no option but to close the motorway completely when negotiations broke down.
End The Orbital Ripoff leader Gary Holmesdale-Clackett said: ‘This protest is definitely the last resort for our organisation. For a number of years now, we have been lobbying the government to end the scandalous practice where companies are allowed to charge extra fees for delivering goods outside of the M25.’
‘In our last study, we found a pizza restaurant in Upminster that charges diners an extra £5 when their delivery drivers have to stray over the other side of the motorway. Someone who lives in West Horndon is literally paying through the nose for an extra five minutes of driving – companies have been exploiting consumers who are not fortunate enough to live in Zones 1-6 for way too long.’
‘This is also a wider protest against the way that society treats people who live outside of the M25. For example, people in the South East are constantly bombarded with messages like ‘applicants must live within the M25,’ and public transport users have to buy an extra ticket on top of their Zone 1-6 Travelcard just to get to work in the morning.’
‘As far as we are concerned, the M25 motorway has created two countries of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ not to mention the fact that the shocking level of carbon emissions within the M25 are now beginning to affect people outside of it. The latest satellite pictures show a clear M25-shaped hole in the ozone layer, and this gap is growing bigger every single day.’
We asked Mr Holmesdale-Clackett how he thinks the protest has gone so far, and he confirmed that there have been a few problems.
He added: ‘We knew that we would need some hi-visibility jackets for health and safety reasons, but the company that we wanted to use would only deliver within the M25. Therefore, quite a few of our protestors have been hit by cars driving at 70 mph and we keep having to replace them with more protestors, who also seem to keep getting hit. We could have paid for them to be delivered to us, or even sent someone to the depot to pick them up, but this would have flown in the face of everything that we stand for.’
‘Although negotiations haven’t worked out so far, I am prepared to tell all protestors to stand down once we receive confirmation from the government that this practice will be stopped by legal and legislative means in Parliament.’