Police: Dartford Bridge closed for rush hour after Just Stop Oil stunt

More misery for motorists as police warn Dartford Bridge WILL still be shut this morning because of ‘irresponsible’ Just Stop Oil stunt: Officers blast protesters dangling 275ft over M25 for nearly 24 hours (and who CAN’T be removed because it’s ‘unsafe’)

  • Dartford Crossing has been closed for a day after two protestors climbed the QEII bridge at 3.50am yesterday
  • Essex Police said the bridge is expected to stay closed through this morning’s rush hour amid safety concerns
  • Just Stop Oil released a statement saying the bridge could be closed for ‘at least 24 hours’ by the protest
  • One of the protesters has released a video saying he’s ‘not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn’
  • Do you know the Just Stop Oil protesters on Dartford Bridge? Contact [email protected] 

Dartford Bridge will stay closed during rush hour this morning, police say, more than 24 hours after two eco-zealots ascended two 275ft masts and dangled over the M25. No officers have been sent to get them down due to ‘safety’ concerns.

Just Stop Oil activists, Morgan Trowland, 39, and Marcus, 33, scaled the Queen Elizabeth II bridge linking Essex to Kent at around 3.50am on Monday, forcing the police to stop traffic from entering the bridge and causing huge delays.

Essex Police said late last night the bridge will stay closed through this morning’s rush hour, with Sean Martell from the National Highways citing ‘safety’ as the primary concern.

Do you know the Just Stop Oil protesters? 

Do you know either or both of the protesters on the Dartford Bridge? 

Contact [email protected]

Police said the operation was ‘complex’ due to the height at which the protestors are currently situated, adding it would take time to get them down. 

MailOnline understands no officers have yet been sent up to fetch the eco zealots down, and the police refused to comment on whether they would later today. 

Furious drivers have blasted the police’s response, saying they were ‘playing into the hands’ of eco activists by shutting the bridge – with Just Stop Oil claiming the bridge will be shut for ‘at least 24 hours’.

As protestors scaled the 275ft masts on the bridge, activist Morgan Trowland was overcome with emotion as he said he had scaled the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge because he ‘was not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’. 

He was joined by Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from London, while thousands of motorists were left stuck in seven-mile tailbacks as police closed the crossing that links Essex and Kent across the Thames.

BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, blasted the pair, calling them ‘crazy’ and said the force is doing everything it can to ‘get that road open as soon as possible’. 

Essex Police said: ‘We expect the bridge to remain closed this evening and into tomorrow morning’s rush hour. We would advise motorists to avoid the area and plan an alternative route if they possibly can.’

Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said: ‘We understand how frustrating this situation is for people wanting to use the bridge and go about their business. Let me assure you we are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly and safely.

‘It is a complex situation due to the height the people on the bridge are at.

‘Our colleagues at National Highways, who have responsibility for the bridge, have made an assessment that it is not currently safe to re-open the road.’

He added: ‘We will take action against anyone who puts life in danger or thinks they can selfishly stop others getting to and from work or just going about their daily lives. The impact is far reaching, especially for the local community.

‘I would again like to re-iterate my thanks to the public for their patience and understanding. I assure them that we continue to work with our partners to bring this dangerous and irresponsible disruption to an end.

‘Our priority is to keep people safe and keep Essex moving.’

Furious drivers demanded police reopen the road even if the pair are still up there, declaring that the protesters ‘knew the risks’ and are stopping people getting to work and hospital appointments. 

It is the 17th consecutive day of protest by the group, which has also targeted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Westminster today by throwing soup at the building’s entrance and demanding a meeting with the Home Secretary.

The environmentalist group has launched demonstrations in London over the last few weeks. 

Protesters sprayed orange paint over an Aston Martin garage in the capital and blocked roads yesterday as they continue to demand an end to new oil and gas projects.

Two Just Stop Oil supporters have climbed to the top of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge forcing police to close the bridge to demand that the government halts all new oil and gas licences and consents,’ it said.

‘At approximately 5am two climbers ascended the two 84m masts on the north side of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge forcing the police to stop traffic from entering the bridge. It is expected that the bridge will remain shut for at least 24 hours.’

National Highways reported two-hour long queues yesterday, with some motorists saying they had been stuck for as long as three. 

The protesters unfurled a banner with the words ‘Just Stop Oil’ between two of the masts on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge

The bridge between Essex and Kent is set to be closed for over 24 hours, including during Tuesday morning’s rush hour 

The Just Stop Oil activists have forced the bridge to close after suspending themselves 275ft in the air 

In a video from the top of the bridge Morgan Trowland (pictured) said he was ‘not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’. The protesters, from Just Stop Oil, have vowed not to come down until the Government stops issuing new gas and oil licences

There is gridlock on the main and side roads of Essex today after police were forced to close the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge over the Thames

The protesters have said they intend to stay up and keep the bridge closed for at least 24 hours, impacting drivers this morning

The protest has caused long delays on the roads, with reports of seven miles of queues on the M25 in Kent and five miles on the M25 in Essex

There were huge delays on the M25 in both directions yesterday morning after police were forced to close the bridge due to the protest. Pictured: Gridlock on the A282 in Essex yesterday

Traffic cameras show miles of queues in Essex and Kent as motorists struggle to get to work on Monday morning as a result of the road closure

Aerial footage shows the protesters hanging high above the road after scaling the 84m masts on the northern side of the bridge

Police have been forced to close the road, which is the only crossing over the Thames to the east of London, as they try to coax the pair down

Just Stop Oil has named the demonstrators as Mr Trowland, bridge design engineer from London, and Marcus, a 33-year-old teacher from the capital.

Mr Trowland said: ‘As a professional civil engineer, each year as I renew my registration, I commit to acting within our code of ethics, which requires me to safeguard human life and welfare and the environment.

‘Our government has enacted suicidal laws to accelerate oil production: killing human life and destroying our environment.

‘I can’t challenge this madness in my desk job, designing bridges, so I’m taking direct action, occupying the QE2 bridge until the government stops all new oil.’ 

Marcus added he felt the current political system in the UK was ‘betraying the people of this country’.

He said: ‘Too many people in this country simply don’t know the scale and intensity of climate breakdown as the scientists describe it.

‘The authorities are criminally failing to get this grim science communicated. During Covid the science was conveyed on a daily basis.

‘Why isn’t the most existential threat that humanity has ever faced on the news every day?

‘Our political system is betraying the people of this country. More fossil fuel licenses means global genocide. Only direct action will now help to reach the social tipping point we so urgently need.’

Essex Police said colleagues at National Highways escorted traffic through the Dartford Tunnel in a bid to alleviate the impact of the road closure.

The crossing is now the only way to cross the Thames by road east of London with the A282, which connects both ends with the M25, running over the bridge.

The crossing contains two tunnels and the bridge, with the tunnels taking traffic north from Kent to Essex and the bridge taking vehicles in the other direction. 

There were long queues in both directions of the M25 after the bridge was closed yesterday, with traffic being diverted down the Dartford Tunnel in a bid to ease the congestion

Angry motorists have hit out at the protesters, accusing them of turning the M25 into a ‘car park’ as commuters struggle to get to work on Monday morning.

Others accused the demonstrators of potentially costing lives by stopping ‘hundreds of NHS staff’ from getting to work and preventing people from getting to hospital and doctors appointments.

One video posted on social media shows an ambulance with blue lights flashing stuck in the traffic at Chafford Hundred in Essex this morning. 

Chief Constable Harrington said he thought the pair were ‘crazy’ and was firmly on the side of motorists.

In an interview with BBC Essex, he said: ‘We want them to come down, but we’ve got to do that safely. Safely for the public, safely for the people who use the bridge and safely for those who operate the bridge. It’s a really dangerous and difficult environment.

‘I think they are crazy. I’m really frustrated and you’ve got every guarantee from me that the officers there at the moment, working with the Dartford Crossing and National Highways, will get that road open as soon as possible.’

He added: ‘We are advising and guiding the road operator. We are there, lets be honest, to arrest them when they come down. I think it’s criminal.

‘My officers are down there and it’s taking them away from other things and it’s stopping Essex and Kent from working and it’s just not acceptable.’

Protesters also targeted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday, throwing soup on the sign at the entrance to the building in Westminster

Activists also sat down in the road, blocking traffic in Victoria Street in central London in what was the 17th consecutive day of demonstrations by the group

Those stuck in the queue at Dartford Bridge hit out at the eco-zealots, as frustrated motorists honked their horns, revved their engines and shouted out ‘come on’ as the sea of cars slowly edged toward the crossing.

Oliver Tite, a 25-year-old from Dartford who works as a lift engineer, was trying to get to Essex for a job interview.

‘It’s ridiculous and it’s a pain for everyone,’ he said.

‘I’m late for a job interview, I probably won’t make it, but I’ll just have to wait and see. If I don’t make it on time, I’ll have to get it moved, if they let me move it.

‘But it’s completely out of my hands and so frustrating. I don’t know why they don’t keep the bridge going. It’s the protesters’ choice to be up there, so why don’t we make them deal with the consequences?’

Mother-of-two Jo Reading, a 42-year-old personal assistant from Dartford, said: ‘It’s not great, it’s not great at all.

‘It’s frustrating and I hope it doesn’t take too long to get through. It’s got to the point where you almost expect this kind of thing, which isn’t good either.’

Just Stop Oil said on its website yesterday: ‘Today’s actions follow over two weeks of continuous disruption by supporters of Just Stop Oil in which they have experienced over 450 arrests.

‘On Sunday, there were 14 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters, who blocked Park Lane and sprayed an Aston Martin dealership with orange paint. Since the campaign began on April 1st, Just Stop Oil supporters have been arrested over 1,700 times, with five currently in prison.

‘This is not a one-day event, expect us every day and anywhere. This is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project. 

‘Our supporters will be returning – today, tomorrow and the next day – and the next day after that – and every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the UK.’

According to Rich Felgate, a documentary maker who has been filming the group’s recent protests, two of its supporters climbed up this morning ‘shutting down the entire bridge and blocking oil tankers from oil terminals in Essex traveling south’. 

On Park Lane on Sunday, one furious black cab driver hauled the eco-zealots from the road. 

One motorist bellowed at them: ‘People have got f****** work to go to.’ Another added: ‘People are trying to go to hospital.’

One motorist bellowed at protestors on Park Lane: ‘People have got f****** work to go to’ while another added ‘people are trying to go to hospital’

Members of the public were not amused by the protest group’s activities and removed them from the road themselves

Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint over the Aston Martin car showroom in an apparent spontaneous act of vandalism

The spray painter somehow found themselves on the floor and appeared to have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police

Among the protesters were a pregnant mother and a musician who all vowed to continue with their deeply divisive campaign.

Chloe Thomas, 19, from Cannock said: ‘I’m 15 weeks pregnant this week. Today, we’re out here on the road together, demanding no new oil. 

‘How do I explain to my daughter in the years to come where the animals went, where the culture went, where the beauty went, why there are no bees and why I can’t put food in her tummy?

‘You know it’s bad, don’t you? As citizens, as humans, as parents and children we have a responsibility and a right under British law to protect ourselves and those we love.’

David Kearns, 45, a musician from Birmingham, added: ‘I cannot stand by and allow this government to continue destroying everything we love for the sake of nothing but profit.

‘The climate crisis is a product of greed, just as the cost of living crisis is a product of greed and I will not comply with a system that puts profits before the people and the planet. ‘

It came just hours after Home Secretary Suella Braverman slammed the activists as ‘thugs’ and told the Metropolitan Police to ‘do a better job’.

Revealed: Tearful eco-zealot civil engineer, 39, behind Dartford crossing chaos is serial law breaker from New Zealand who bragged about designing XR bamboo structures and glued himself to Tower Bridge 

A tearful eco-zealot civil engineer who has caused traffic chaos at the Dartford Crossing is a serial law breaker from New Zealand, MailOnline can reveal.

Morgan Trowland, who has bragged about designing bamboo structures for Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests and once glued himself to Tower Bridge, launched himself back into the headlines today.

The 39-year-old, along with another Just Stop Oil activist, scaled the girders at the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge between Essex and Kent at around 3.50am on Monday, forcing police to close one of the busiest roads in the country.

It is part of the pressure group’s so-called ‘month of protest’ against new oil and gas exploration, with Just Stop Oil warning it intends to keep the road closed for at least 24 hours.

In a video from the top of the bridge this morning, Trowland appeared to have difficulty holding back the tears as the climate protester claimed he was ‘not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.

It is far from the first time Trowland, who hails from New Zealand but lives in Hackney, east London, has decided to take part in highly disruptive protests.

The 39-year-old, who hails from New Zealand, is a veteran of climate change protests

The civil engineer has bragged about building bamboo structures to be used at protests by groups such as Extinction Rebellion

In the past he has taken part in demonstrations by various anarchist groups, including XR, and has ended up in court multiple times, MailOnline can reveal.

And despite being found guilty of breaking the law twice, he has been allowed to continue his activities after walking free from the courts.

In May last year Trowland was among nine XR protester to glue themselves to Tower Bridge, closing the inner-city traffic artery.

Trowland was also one of the ringleaders of the September 2020 blockade of the Hertfordshire newspaper print works.

He bragged that he had designed the two giant bamboo structures that were erected outside the factory to stop production, while he describes himself as being ‘obsessed with bamboo tensegrity [tensile integrity] and how it WILL change the world’ on his Twitter profile.

The XR action stopped three and a half million newspapers – including the Daily Mail, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and the Evening Standard – from being distributed across the country.

Trowland was later ordered to pay £334 pounds in fines and costs at St Albans Magistrates’ Court.

In April 2019 he also was one of a number ‘Tree of Life’ protesters who were arrested for public disorder in the City of London.

Trowland has appeared in court multiple times over his climate change protesting activities. Here he is pictured outside St Albans Magistrates’ Court in May 2021

He was found guilty of the offence at the City of London Magistrates’ Court but given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.  

A Facebook post last year indicated Trowland had no intention of giving up his fight for climate action.

He wrote: ‘Your children are facing annihilation within a decade or two, who knows exactly when? People in other parts of the world are facing it now.

‘Inexorably, extreme weather and ecological collapse will alternately scorch, flood and plague our crops leading to food shortages, leading to mob violence, murder and rape as your desperate neighbours turn ugly.

‘We are outta time for incremental changes and we need to organise an emergency response an order of magnitude greater than for COVID. for that we need to take over the state as it’s the only institution through which this could happen. the mechanism proposed for that is a citizens assembly to set legally binding strategy.

‘That may sound impossible but it’s equally impossible to sit back and watch the annihilation lap at our door steps.’

Earlier today he and another Just Stop Oil activist climbed up the Dartford Bridge to protest gas and oil exploration. 

In a selfie video taken on top of the structure, Trowland said: ‘I’m not willing to sit back and watch everything I love burn for the rest of my life’.

The emotional protester railed against ‘the current fraudulent, charlatan excuse for a Government’, saying it was ‘accelerating that process granting more licences for oil and gas’.

‘It’s an absolute act of treason, it’s selling ourselves and our children into an uninhabitable earth and I believe it’s my duty to do anything in my power to stop it,’ he added.

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