Emma Smart 1.jpg


29th Nov 2021, 10am

Emma Smart, 44, from Weymouth, Dorset, who has today been in prison on hunger strike for 13 days, was moved out of her cell onto the hospital wing at HMP Bronzefield on Friday. The prison is becoming increasingly concerned about her health. 


On 17th November Emma, an aunt and biologist was sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of court for breaking the M25 injunction. Emma immediately vowed to stop eating until the government issues a meaningful statement to get on with the job of insulating Britain’s leaky homes. [1]


Speaking from HMP Bronzefield Emma said:


“The window of my cell in the hospital wing is blocked up and there is little natural light, in my previous cell I could see the birds and trees that line the prison fence. I have less time to go outside in the prison yard for exercise now. All of this is testing my resolve to continue, but I feel that not eating is the only thing I can do from prison to draw attention to those who will have to make the choice between heating and eating this winter.


“Not standing by while our government commits treason against the people of this country feels like the most important thing I will do in my life.”


Emma was imprisoned with eight other people who were given sentences of between three and six months and were each ordered to pay costs of £5,000. The court ordered that they should serve at least half their sentences. A further group of nine people from Insulate Britain have been summoned to appear at the High Court on 14th December to face a charge of contempt of court and if found guilty could be subject to unlimited fines, seizure of assets and prison sentences of up to two years.


Friends and family of the first group of people jailed by the government for demanding action on home insulation have set up a crowdfunder to help cover their court costs, rent and other expenses whilst in prison. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/highway9


On Tuesday 30th November supporters of Insulate Britain will be doing a 24 hour fast outside 10 Downing Street from 8am to highlight the need for urgent action on fuel poverty, with Emma, in solidarity with people who will have to make the choice whether to hear or eat in Britain this winter. Andy Smith, Emma’s husband, will be available to speak to journalists from 9am outside Downing Street. 


The news of Emma’s deteriorating health came as the government released the most recent figures on excess winter deaths. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that there were 63,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in the 2020/2021 winter period - the highest recorded rate since 1969/1970. Although these numbers are strongly influenced by Covid, campaign group Fuel Poverty Action estimates that around 10,000 people die each year because they cannot afford to heat their homes and suggests that cold homes may also contribute to Covid related deaths.  [2] [3] [4]


Ruth from Fuel Poverty Action said:


"Deaths from fuel poverty in this wealthy country are not an act of God but an
obscenity. They’re a result of deliberate policies on housing, fossil fuels, pensions, benefits, taxes, and wages that cannot be allowed to stand."


“Repairing and insulating the UK’s notoriously leaky homes could make them warm, reduce bills and cut down carbon emissions.  A new pricing structure could reverse the injustice which sees the people with least money paying most for energy.”





Press contact: 07737 457105  

Email: insulatebritainpress@protonmail.com



High quality photos and video footage available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Kucq-NfhnZLGJWwLx1HX03cWR7M9Y2-m


Website: https://www.insulatebritain.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/insulatebritain

Twitter: https://twitter.com/insulatelove

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8N5mAeeCLbD-AFUqtPaF0g


Notes to Editors



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: https://www.insulatebritain.com/

Technical Report on home energy efficiency here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jt5FI-kinEXoqZtPDrCvnAVQ2EFn8Aea/view


[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/2020to2021provisionaland2019to2020final 


[3] https://www.npcuk.org/post/protestors-march-to-downing-st-over-winter-deaths

[4] www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/pensioners-march-wreath-downing-street-25555404.amp