More Traffic-Blocking Eco-Activists Jailed in UK for Contempt of Court

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Five Insulate Britain activists were jailed on Wednesday after they breached a high court injunction prohibiting them from obstructing traffic on the M25 motorway last year.

The climate activist group repeatedly blocked traffic on the UK’s motorways and busy streets, demanding the government insulate all British homes by 2030 to help decarbonise the economy.

One of the activists, 27-year-old Ben Taylor, is currently serving a previous sentence for a separate account of the same charge. According to Insulate Britain, Taylor was due to be released later this month after serving half of his six-month sentence. He’s now given a further 32-day prison term.

Four other activists, 63-year-old Theresa Norton, 62-year-old Dr. Diana Warner, 35-year-old El Litten, and 62-year-old Steve Pritchard, have been sentenced to between 24 and 42 days in prison.

The quartet glued themselves to the steps outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday instead of attending court before the police un-glued them and took them in custody.

 Insulate Britain
(L–R) Insulate Britain activists Theresa Norton, Diana Warner, El Litten, and Steve Pritchard glued outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Feb. 1, 2022. (Denise Laura Baker/Insulate Britain)

Warner also failed to attend a previous court hearing and went to block a train instead. The retired general practitioner was given a two-month sentence on Dec. 15, 2021, and served half the term.

The court on Wednesday gave 11 other activists suspended prison sentences, but they will be jailed if they breach the injunction within the next two years.

Biff Whipster, 54, Stephen Gower, 55, and Paul Sheeky, 46, were given 24-day terms; Ruth Jarman, 58, and Rev. Sue Parfitt, 79, were given 30-day sentences; Ben Buse, 36, received a 40-day sentence; David Nixon, 35, Gabriella Ditton, 28, Indigo Rumbelow, 27, and Stephanie Aylett, 27, were given 42-day terms;  and Christian Rowe, 24, received a 60-day sentence.

One of the 11 was previously jailed twice and two had another suspended sentence.

Buse was jailed for four months on Nov. 17 and 30 days on Dec. 15, but was released early on Dec. 21, while Jarman and Parfitt were each given a two-month sentence suspended for two years.

Jarman said she was “sorry” for disrupting people, but does not regret her choice and “cannot promise not to do it again.”

“I admit that I broke the injunction—it was a choice I made because I answer to a higher authority, that of love and life. I felt that not joining the Insulate Britain protests would make me a bystander to violence and complicit in the breakdown of abundant and civilised life,” she said.

“I am sorry for the impact of our protests on the people who were affected. I hate disrupting people and my actions were aiming to prevent the greater disruption of climate breakdown. So I do not regret breaking the injunction and I cannot promise not to do it again.”

In December 2021, figures obtained by PA news agency under Freedom of Information revealed that at least £4.3 million had been spent on policing Insulate Britain’s road-blocking protests between Sept. 13 and Nov. 20, 2021.

Lily Zhou

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Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.



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