Two Just Stop Oil protesters jailed after scaling a bridge on the Dartford Crossing, causing gridlock when police closed it to traffic, will seek to challenge their sentences at the Court of Appeal.

Morgan Trowland, 40, and Marcus Decker, 34, used ropes and other climbing equipment to scale the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links the M25 in Essex and Kent.

The bridge was closed from 4am on October 17 last year to 9pm the following day, with jams as traffic was forced to use the tunnels instead, a trial at Basildon Crown Court was previously told.

In April, a jury unanimously found the pair guilty of causing a public nuisance.

Judge Shane Collery KC later sentenced Trowland at Southend Crown Court to three years in prison, while Decker was jailed for two years and seven months.

The protesters are now due to bring bids to challenge their prison sentences at the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday.

Environmental campaign group Just Stop Oil previously said Judge Collery was “trying to set a precedent” and “deter people” by jailing two of its activists over the Dartford Crossing protest.

Structural engineer Trowland, of Islington, north London, and private tutor Decker, of no fixed address, had denied causing a public nuisance, arguing that it was a protest.

Prosecutor Adam King previously told the trial that the protesters ascended to a point close to 200ft above the road and unfurled a “giant Just Stop Oil banner” and “rigged up hammocks and stayed there”.

He said the men came down at about 5.30pm on October 18 “with the help of police and a very tall cherry picker crane” but the bridge was not reopened to traffic until later.

Essex Police said that those affected by the traffic disruption included a “heavily pregnant woman who needed urgent medical help”.

Another person missed the funeral of their best friend of 35 years, the force said, and a business lost more than £160,000 in earnings.

Lawyers for the two men previously said they did not intend to conduct further disruptive protests but Judge Collery said he saw “no signs” the defendants were “any less committed to the causes you espouse than before”.

The judge said the pair “have to be punished for the chaos you caused and to deter others from copying you”.

He added that “protest is tolerated” but that “in no society can there be a blank cheque in terms of what’s permitted”.

The appeal hearing before Lady Justice Carr, Mrs Justice Cutts and Mrs Justice Thornton is due to begin at 10.30am.