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18 November 2021, 14:00

Yesterday, as nine people from Insulate Britain were sentenced to prison for contempt of court, Emma Smart, 44 announced her intention to go on hunger strike.


She said:

“ As a scientist and conservationist I have spent my entire adult life working to protect those that don’t have a voice or are unable to stand up for themselves. This prison sentence will take me away from valuable work.


I am proud of my actions with Insulate Britain. The government knows that our simple no-brainer demand to cut carbon emissions by insulating Britain’s homes will  save lives, eliminate fuel poverty and create thousands of valuable jobs. Their failure to take even this basic first step to address climate breakdown is locking us on a course to the destruction of everything we cherish.  


I am heartbroken for my nieces, and all young people today who will experience unimaginable suffering because of our government's inaction. Our government is betraying their future.


I used to believe that my place in fighting this battle, and it is a battle, was in a university, in a research lab and in the field. I now know that I must take that fight wherever I go. So I am extending my protest into prison by exercising the only freedom that l have left: to control whether I eat. 


Emma’s husband, Andy Smith, 45, from Weymouth, Dorset said


“Obviously I’m terrified. It’s a horrible thing for her to go through but I stand by her decision to do that. She’s an incredibly passionate person dedicated to trying to protect the environment. That’s deeply ingrained in who she is. That freedom to go out on to the street and protest has been taken away from her, so her going on a hunger strike in prison is another way to continue that fight for justice.”


Insulate Britain understands that there will be a day of civil resistance in London on Saturday 20th November inspired by our campaign. The action will be to express solidarity with the 34 people from Insulate Britain who face imprisonment for up to two years for contempt of court for breaking motorway injunctions. Nine of them were sentenced yesterday, and a further 23 are expected to be summoned in the coming weeks.


 The meeting place for Saturday is midday outside the Royal Courts of Justice. 


Ben Taylor, 27, predicted this response, when he addressed the High Court on Tuesday;


“I want to invite you now to think very carefully about what you do next. And to particularly consider the gravity of the situation that you are currently in control of because if you do send me away to prison, ten people, or more, will step forward and take my place.


And if you go ahead, and put all nine of us away, a hundred people, or more, will step forward and take our place. And if you send a hundred of us away, a thousand people will step forward and take our place.”




Press contact: 07737 457105  




Content Drive for Emma Smart here: ​​


High quality photos and video footage available here:







Notes to Editors


[1] The nine are Dr Ben Buse 36, Ana Heyatawin 58, Louis McKenchnie 20, Roman Paluch 28, Oliver Roc 41, Emma Smart 44, Tim Speers 36, James Thomas 47, Ben Taylor 27.


[2] Our supporters will meet on the steps of the High Court at 12pm on Saturday 20th November to continue our campaign of nonviolent civil resistance.


About Insulate Britain


Insulate Britain is a new campaign group that is calling on the UK government to put in place policy and funding for a national home insulation programme starting with all social housing. 


We demand the Prime Minister and the government to #getonwiththejob, face up to their responsibility and lead our country through the climate crisis.


We are ordinary British citizens with simple and achievable demands to #INSULATEBRITAIN


The UK government must immediately promise to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain.


We demand a national home insulation strategy that gives British people the justice they deserve: a future for our loved ones, lower energy bills and safer living conditions.


We are scared: our livelihoods are at risk and the futures of our children are uncertain

The Climate Crisis is a threat to all: we demand the government to act now.


Our Demands

1. That the UK government immediately promises to fully fund and take responsibility for the insulation of all social housing in Britain by 2025;

2. That the UK government immediately promises to produce within four months a legally binding national plan to fully fund and take responsibility for the full low-energy and low-carbon whole-house retrofit , with no externalised costs, of all homes in Britain by 2030 as part of a just transition to full decarbonisation of all parts of society and the economy.

Further information about Insulate Britain and our demands here:

Technical Report on home energy efficiency here:


Insulate Britain ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with ‘blue lights’ on.