Extinction Rebellion protests have cost police £60million since 2019

Extinction Rebellion protests have cost the Met £60m  (PA Archive)
Extinction Rebellion protests have cost the Met £60m (PA Archive)

Extinction Rebellion protests have cost the Met Police over £60million since 2019, the Standard can reveal, as the climate action group plans a fresh wave of disorder in the capital.

Demonstrations by the eco activists earlier this year came with a £10million bill to police, Met data shows.

Almost 16,000 officers were needed to oversee ten days of action between April 9 and 16.

It saw demonstrators climb Marble Arch, block Regent Street and Oxford Street and target a Shell tanker in central London in their campaign against fossil fuels.

The cost to the Met included nearly £2million in overtime payments.

But while more than 200 protesters were arrested, just 20 have been charged with an offence so far, police said.

It comes as XR members are expected to take to the streets of London again for three days from September 10, before a wave of “regional rebellions”.

Activists said they would "make the demand for climate action impossible to ignore" following the UK’s record breaking temperatures of 40C last month and spiralling energy costs.

Thousands of protesters from the Just Stop Oil campaign are also vowing to blockade Parliament for weeks in October unless a halt is called to new oil and gas projects.

The group claims in will be Britain’s largest ever campaign of civil disobedience.

Energy minister Greg Hands told the Standard: "Everybody has the right to peacefully demonstrate.

"But these policing costs are huge at a time of tight public finances and when some demonstrators have caused extensive damage and disruption.

"I would like to see more charged for criminal damage and those that block roads, stopping people getting to work and to hospitals, causing huge disruptions, properly dealt with by police."

A summer of protests last year, where campaigners blocked Oxford Circus and a giant table was erected in Covent Garden, cost the Met £18million to police.

Protests by Extinction Rebellion in 2019 cost the Met police almost £40million - more than twice the annual budget of the force’s Violent Crime taskforce (£15million).

The latest planned action comes after sweeping reforms to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which limit the right to demonstrate came into force in May.

Home Secretary Priti Patel was accused of creating a “a grave threat to civil liberties” for additions to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.

The new bill strengthens police powers to place conditions on protests to control noise levels or prevent significant disruption to or delays on public goods and services, such as money, food, water, energy or fuel.

A Met Police spokesman said: “Responding to protests is core police work for the Met and plans and budgets are kept under constant review.

“Applying for additional funding is assessed on a case-by-case basis and depends on many factors, including the cost and how large the event is.

“The right to protest is a very important part of our society and we will continue to provide a proportionate response to protest ensuring disruption to London is kept to a minimum wherever possible.”