The Government is set to prevent Just Stop Oil campaigners from causing chaos with quiet plans to amend the Public Order Act.
The proposed changes clarify and expand the Act's definition, giving police greater flexibility and clarity over when to intervene protests.
Some fuel protesters have this year changed tactics to include slowing traffic by carrying out walking protests through cities including London.
Rishi Sunak said the proposals will prevent “a small minority” from disrupting the lives of the “hard-working majority”.
The proposed changes clarify and expand the Act's definition, giving police greater flexibility and clarity over when to intervene protests
Police chiefs have previously told the Prime Minister that there is some uncertainty over what reaches the threshold of "serious disruption".
The Government is toughening up the act, bypassing Parliament and the Lords, and using secondary legislation to make the amends.
The changes clarify and expand the Act's definition of “serious disruption to the life of a community” by saying that serious disruption can include the "cumulative impact of concurrent and repeated protests in the same area".
In addition, “community” can include people affected by the protest and not just those who live or work in the vicinity of that procession.
Previously, Sunak wrote on the ConservativeHome website that disruptive protests were “not right and we’re going to put a stop to it”.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 had set out serious disruption as that preventing an “organisation” from carrying out its activities for “a prolonged period” within the vicinity of a protest.
The continuous protests by eco-campaigners has caused significant disruption, frustrating members of the public and prompting tough talk from politicians.
The proposal says: "This instrument would amend the Public Order Act 1986 (“the 1986 Act”) to provide greater clarity about, and a lower threshold for, whether a procession or assembly in England and Wales is likely to cause 'serious disruption to the life of the community'.
The continuous protests by eco-campaigners has caused significant disruption, frustrating members of the public
"This phrase provides a test that, if met, allows the police to impose conditions on the event, such as specifying a particular route or prohibiting the event altogether.
"The changes are intended to allow the police to react more appropriately and consistently to protests, such as those carried out by Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil."
The plans are highlighted in this month's House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.