Government to set tougher penalties on climate activists: The UK Government will appoint stronger punishments as well as new police powers to take stern measures against disruption created by climate protestors on motorways and other essential transport infrastructure.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary reported a series of amendments will be brought in to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill in the House of Lords.
The government says it is bringing in harsher penalties after the “dangerous behaviour” of Insulate Britain members, who brought about “significant disruption & misery to millions of people in recent weeks”.
The actions involve a new offence of interfering with the workings of key infrastructure, which include motorways, railways and airports, where the impact disturbs the circulation of essential goods, like fuel and medicine.
It will additionally include media printing grounds, considering the “significant disruption” brought about by Extinction Rebellion protestors to newspaper deliveries in 2020.
For blocking highways, the government suggest to modify current legislation so those who are found guilty will endure an unlimited fine, 6 months’ imprisonment, or both.
As of now, the violation of obstructing a highway results in a maximum fine of £1,000.
The government further aims to close a loophole that permits protestors to cause additional disruption on a road when it has been closed by the police for the purposes of clearing demonstrations and clearing people away.
The Criminal Disruption Prevention Orders, which is another measure, will allow courts to impose limits upon the activities of people who continually bring about serious disruption or participate in criminal activity at a protest.
Furthermore, a new offence of blocking the construction of authorised infrastructure will be brought in, bringing a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine, 6 months’ imprisonment or both.
The government is further suggesting amendments to tackle the lock-on strategies used by groups which include Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain.
A new offence will be brought in to criminalise the act of locking-on as well as being equipped to lock-on, by which it causes or is inclined to cause severe disruption, with maximum penalties including an unlimited fine, 6 months’ imprisonment or both.
New stop & search powers will be given to police to permit officers to search individuals and confiscate items that are possible to be used for lock-ons.
Members of Insulate Britain advise that activities will carry on until the government takes measures on home insulation, saying it will “help people with rising energy bills, prevent 8,500 fuel poverty deaths and cut carbon emissions in the most cost-effective way possible”.
Insulate Britain tweeted: “Actions will continue until the government makes a meaningful statement indicating that they will insulate all of Britain’s 29 million homes by 2030, which are among the oldest and leakiest in Europe.”
Government to set tougher penalties on climate activists