The Insulate Britain campaigner who undertook a hunger strike while in prison has said it was “a beautiful day” as she was released from captivity. Emma Smart, an ecologist, was freed from HMP Bronzefield in Surrey shortly after 9.40am on Friday. The ecologist undertook a 26-day hunger strike while in prison and was moved to the hospital wing 13 days into her strike and has since said she would do “whatever it takes”.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Ms Smart said: “If anything my time in jail has increased my resolve and increased my determination.
“I’m aware during my time in prison Boris Johnson hasn’t made a meaningful statement on insulating Britain and so our demands still stand.
“The crisis is still here, 8,000 people are dying every year from cold and damp homes and now we have the added crisis on fuel and people not being able to pay their energy bills.
“If anything the situation is worse coming out of prison.”
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Members of Insulate Britain took part in a series of protests which saw them stage blockades on major roads between September and November last year, causing long traffic jams.
They are calling for the Government to put in place policy and funding for a national home insulation programme, starting with all social housing.
The Government-owned National Highways responded to the protests by obtaining High Court injunctions, which banned demonstrations on motorways and major A-roads in England.
During a High Court hearing in November, Thomas, Smart, Rock, Paluch, and Speers admitted breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the motorway during the morning rush hour on October 8. They were handed four-month sentences.
Reverend Sue Parfitt, 79, Father Martin Newell, 54, and former university lecturer Philip Kingston, 85, were unanimously acquitted by a jury at Inner London Crown Court of obstructing the railway following their protest at Shadwell Station on October 17, 2019.
Mr Kingston super-glued his hand to a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train while Rev Parfitt and Father Newell climbed on the roof and said prayers for the planet, shortly before 7am.
The trio said they were strongly motivated by their Christian faith, while Mr Kingston said the futures of his four grandchildren also prompted him to take part in the protest.
In what they said was an attempt to appeal to the public and the Government about the dangers of climate change and the financial institutions whose actions damage the planet, they targeted a train which was one stop away from Bank, in the City of London’s financial district.
Some 15 trains were delayed or cancelled but none were stuck in tunnels.