In respect of any protests going forward, we been made aware of new laws that apply to demonstrations. Please see below a link to the terms of the Public Order Act 2023. Significant parts of this went live this year as some as recently as early July.
Please see section 6 of part 1, which talks about the new offence of ‘Obstruction of major transport works’
With a basic understanding having read this, it seems extremely likely that had this legislation been in place, the Police could have used this power to prevent any and all of the ‘obstruction’ activities that protesters took part in in February, and that they could have used this much sooner in the process.
Section 6, point 2a, does say that a defence can be offered by a person if they can prove that they had ‘reasonable excuse’ for causing an obstruction, however, it does not define what ‘reasonable excuse means’. We would like to think that by trying to prevent a crime from happening, that would be a reasonable defence, but who knows?
Other new offences that could apply include:
- the offence of ‘Locking on’ and causing a disruption to two or more people
- the offence of having tools etc with you that could be for ‘locking on’
- the offence of being equipped for tunneling
As the demonstrations that are being considered by people on Friday are likely not to be causing an obstruction or disruption to two people or more away from dwelling places; and as long as people gather on the grass and make sure not to block a pathway or roadway, these demonstrations should be fine.
We have contacted the police, local inspector Miriam said the protest may get called in, but as long as everybody is complying with the rules and not blocking pavements, roadways or locking onto anything then everybody should be fine.
Please note that it is important to point out that anyone who takes part in any protest to SAVE OUR TREES is acting as an individual, and it is everyone’s individual responsibility to comply with the law. As we are not lawyers or police officers, we have to advise anyone who wishes to protest to check with a lawyer or with the police before doing so (whether acting individually or as part of a group, company or organisation).