Protesters have climbed a motorway sign on the M25 in response to extreme temperatures in the UK and what they describe as the Government's "inadequate preparations" for climate change.

Five demonstrators scaled gantries which support overhead motorway signs in three places on the M25, causing police to close sections of the road.

Essex Police announced the M25 had been closed in Thurrock between junction 30 (A13) and junction 31 as protesters climbed a sign in Dartford between the Queen Elizabeth Bridge northbound and junction 30.

A spokesman for the force said on Twitter: "The M25 in Thurrock between J30 and J31 has been closed while we respond to reports of people on the gantry above the road.

"We're working to resolve the incident as quickly and safely as possible but please avoid the area.

"We appreciate your patience and understanding."

Read more >>> Essex sees hottest temperatures ever as record-breaking 39C reached

Traffic was queuing back towards junction 29 (A127) at 11.55am after the road was closed.

The environmental protest group has said more groups are on their way, as part of planned action between Wednesday and Friday.

A spokesman for Just Stop Oil said: "The main thing is, we've just seen 40 degree temperatures, which have been predicted for decades, maybe it's happening a bit faster. But it has just revealed how inadequate the Government's preparations for climate change are and their entire policy, and basically we're just saying it's evident now we cannot continue.

"As we're going on, we need to stop new oil. It's the first step to ensuring we have a liveable future, and maybe it's already too late.

"This is something we definitely need to do."

The group chose the M25 as the site of the action as it is "the place where we confront the carbon economy headlong and bring our resistance into full public view. The M25 has a kind of iconic status as the motorway from hell, doesn't it? So it's a reference to that".

Temperatures reached 40C in the UK for the first time ever on Tuesday, which led to major incidents announced by fire brigades in London, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire as fires broke out across the country in the heat.

The group is demanding that the Government make a "meaningful statement" that it will commit to stop licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK, which it says is "the necessary first step to ensuring a liveable future".

It added that it plans to hold further actions against oil infrastructure in coalition with trade unions, environmental groups and civil society organisations in the coming months.