Activists who block roads could be forced to pay compensation, report suggests

Protesters could be forced to pay compensation for the disruption they cause under proposals in a review by a Government adviser.

Individuals, businesses or institutions that could show they endured loss, distress or suffering from an illegal protest would be entitled to court-ordered compensation from activists, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The measures are said to be contained in a review by Lord Walney, the Government’s adviser on political violence and disruption, which will be published on Tuesday.

The measures could be used to impose financial costs on organisations like Just Stop Oil if they carry out acts such as blocking roads or disrupting businesses.

A Home Office source told the Telegraph: “If Just Stop Oil organises a major roadblock and you cannot get to work or you miss a hospital appointment, there would be a framework where you could more easily sue the organisation for the loss they have caused you. It would be a statutory scheme but civil action.

“Number 10 really sees the politics of being able to give more power to individuals to be able to do this. Every time it happens, you have intense frustration for individuals who take things into their own hands but are ultimately powerless when they cannot get to where they are going.

“People organising these blockades are not seeing sufficient deterrent from individual prosecutions. It is about how much it will be worthwhile for them to do it if these proposals are enacted.”

MP portraits
Lord Walney’s report will be published on Tuesday (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

The newspaper suggested the compensation scheme could be modelled on the small claims court system or along the lines of the financial services ombudsman.

The review by Lord Walney, the crossbench peer who as John Woodcock was a former Labour MP, is intended to increase the Government’s understanding of the increase in activity by far-right, far-left and other political groups and identify where activities can cross into criminality and disruption.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Extremism of any kind has no place in our society and we will not tolerate tactics that set out to intimidate, threaten or cause disruption to the law-abiding majority.

“In recent months, we have also witnessed a small number of protestors display violent and hateful behaviour, and the police have our full support in tackling extremism and hate crime.

“We will consider the report’s final recommendations extremely carefully and will respond in due course.”