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Climate protesters block Britain’s busiest motorway after heatwave

#Climate #protesters #block #Britains #busiest #motorway #heatwave

Climate protesters sparked a long queue on Britain’s busiest motorway on Wednesday, warning a record-breaking heatwave was a dire reminder for urgent action.

Members of the Just Stop Oil group climbed bridges over the M25 that circles London, prompting police intervention and reversing vehicles several miles (kilometers) in one direction.

Surrey Police later said a 22-year-old woman who climbed a bridge was arrested on suspicion of causing a hazard to road users, causing a public nuisance and being a pedestrian on the motorway.

Three lanes that were closed when she was brought down later reopened, the officer added.

Temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time in southern England on Tuesday, with a new record of 40.3 degrees Celsius.

The extreme heat caused huge transport disruptions and sparked the same type of wildfires seen in Europe in recent years.

Government Secretary Kit Malthouse told Parliament that in 2019 temperatures were above the previous record of 37.8C in 34 locations.

Firefighters experienced “their busiest day since World War II,” dealing with dozens of wildfires, as 15 fire and rescue services reported major incidents, he said.

He said at least 41 properties were destroyed in London, 14 in Norfolk, east England, five in Lincolnshire and a smaller number elsewhere.

Malthouse, who chaired the weekend meetings of the government’s emergency committee, urged the public to heed the safety advice as the risk of further wildfires was still high despite a drop in temperature.

“Tragically … 13 people are said to have lost their lives after getting into trouble while swimming in rivers, reservoirs and lakes in recent days – seven of them teenagers,” he added.

The London Fire Brigade said 16 firefighters were injured in the capital, with two hospitalized.

The city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the service received more than 2,600 calls on Tuesday – up from about 350 on a normal day.

Khan also accused Conservative leaders vying to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson of ignoring the “elephant in the room” of climate change.

Just Stop Oil said it regretted the public disturbance caused by its recent action on the M25, after activists previously staged sit-ins on this and other roads.

But by declaring the M25 a “place of civil resistance,” she warned of more protests this week.

“This is the moment when anti-climate inaction is truly revealed in all its murderous glory for all to see: as an elite-driven death project that will wipe out all life if we let it,” the activist group said.

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