Major delays are backing up on the A282 southbound after protesters reportedly scaled the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (Dartford Crossing) earlier this morning.

Essex Police said it received a reported shortly before 3.50am today (October 17) of two Just Stop Oil protesters climbing the bridge, which was closed to all traffic until around 5.50am.

The A282 southbound remains closed with delays of up to two hours, according to National Highways.

It said traffic is currently being diverted via the East Bore Tunnel, with those travelling northbound being sent to the West Bore Tunnel.

Jams have also been reported by National Highways on approaching roads to the M25, including 30-minute queues on the A13 near Thurrock, and 50 minutes of congestion on the A2 near Darenth.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "Our officers are continuing to work to resolve the issue on the Dartford Crossing after two people climbed up onto high cables early this morning.

"The QEII bridge is closed to allow us to resolve the situation as safely as possible and a diversion is in place through the tunnel.

"This is a complex operation due to the height at which the protestors are currently situated and it may take some but we are working as quickly as possible.

"We want to be clear – our priority is to keep people safe and keep Essex moving.

"We will take action against anyone who puts life in danger or things they can selfishly stop others getting to work or getting on with their lives.

"We appreciate your patience and understanding and will keep you updated through the day."

Morgan Trowland, 39, a bridge design engineer from London, said in a statement released by Just Stop Oil: “As a professional civil engineer, each year as I renew my registration, I commit to acting within our code of ethics, which requires me to safeguard human life and welfare and the environment.

“Our government has enacted suicidal laws to accelerate oil production: killing human life and destroying our environment.

“I can’t challenge this madness in my desk job designing bridges, so I’m taking direct action, occupying the QE2 bridge until the government stops all new oil.”

Updates to follow.