Police have arrested 38 people after environmental protesters targeted the M25 for a fifth time in just over a week.
Surrey Police Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman said the force took “swift and robust action” to remove the Insulate Britain activists from a section of the motorway between junctions 9 and 10 shortly after 8am on Tuesday.
The force said “a number” of demonstrators were at the scene, where they had poured blue paint on to the motorway, and urged drivers to avoid the area where possible.
Footage taken at the scene by LBC showed the protesters walking on to the motorway and sitting down on the ground in front of moving traffic.
Some then held up banners saying “Insulate Britain” and poured blue paint on to the road, before they were dragged away by police officers.
Surrey Police said in a statement that they first received a call about the protesters at 7.57am, and arrived on the scene within three minutes.
By 8.17am both carriageways were cleared and have since been reopened, the force added.
Mr Westerman said protesters “put their own lives, as well as those of others, at risk”.
He went on: “Fortunately, we were on scene within three minutes of the first call coming in and took swift and robust action to ensure protesters were removed from both carriageways after they ignored our requests to move on peacefully.
“The anti-clockwise carriageway was reopened minutes later as soon as it was safe to do so – with the clockwise carriageway cleared two minutes after that.
“I would like to reassure the public that our priority is a quick and effective response, with disruption kept to a minimum. Officers responded quickly this morning to make arrests, as well as monitoring the wider motorway network.”
He appealed for motorists with video and dashcam footage of the protest to share it with the force urgently.
The campaigning group confirmed it led the demonstration, adding that new people have joined its campaign to improve home insulation in addition to the others who have been involved in similar demonstrations in Hertfordshire, Kent, Essex and Surrey over the past two weeks.
It added that the recent rise in gas and electricity costs has “increased the urgency” for change and it would end its campaign as soon as it hears a “meaningful commitment” to its demands.
Spokesman Liam Norton said: “The idea that people would suddenly decide insulating our leaky homes is a bad idea as a result of our campaign is frankly laughable. We are simply asking the Government to get on with the job.
“The people of Britain understand that climate change is a severe threat to everything they hold dear. They are looking to the Government for leadership. We have a practical solution and have received encouragement for our aims from many construction industry professionals.”
Climate change activist Dr Diana Warner, a retired GP from Gloucestershire, said: “Insulating homes is such a necessary action right now, for health, economy and climate. All our homes.
“Only the Government can get that done. Boris just needs to get on with it. This is a practical way to start to level up Britain. No words, we need action and results.”