26 November 2021, 9am

As Emma Smart continues her hunger strike into its second week, another nine ordinary people from Insulate Britain have been summoned to appear at the High Court on 14th December.They face the  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 for breaking the civil injunctions granted to National Highways and Transport for London in respect of motorways and other critical roads.


The group includes Dr. Ben Buse 36, who faces a second hearing after being sentenced to four months imprisonment last week. The others being summoned are Ruth Jarman 58, Biff Whipster 54, Dr. Diana Warner 62, Paul Sheeky 46, Richard Ramsden 75, Stephen Gower 54, Steven Pritchard 58 and the Rev Sue Parfitt 79. [1]


The first nine people to be charged with contempt of court, from a group of at least 34 people from Insulate Britain who have broken these injunctions multiple times, were last week given prison sentences of between three and six months, with the court ordering that they should serve at least half that time before probation can be considered.  The High Court ordered them to pay costs of £5,000 each - less than half the sum sought by National Highways Ltd. Dame Victoria Sharp, presiding, remarked that the claimant’s £91,000 costs application was ‘excessive’. [2] 


Insulate Britain’s campaign of nonviolent civil resistance, which began in September, has involved disrupting traffic on and around the M25, roads in London, Dover, Birmingham and Manchester, to demand that the government gets on with the job of insulating Britain’s leaky homes. 


A further 17 Insulate Britain supporters, who have also openly defied one or more of the four recent injunctions granted to Transport for London and National Highways, are expected to be summoned to court in the coming days. This brings the total to at least 34 ordinary people who will eventually face contempt of court proceedings.


Stephen Gower, who has been summoned on the 14th December said:


“The government didn’t need to imprison scientists, tradespeople, teachers, pensioners; the government needs to insulate Britain’s leaky homes, to stop thousands dying every winter from fuel poverty, to end hundreds of thousands of families being cold and hungry, and to start really acting on the climate crisis now the UK’s number one public concern”. [3]


Emma Smart, 44 a biologist and auntie from Weymouth, Dorset, is demanding the government release a meaningful statement to get on with the job of retrofitting and insulating homes in the UK, starting with all social housing to be made safe by 2025. [4]


Speaking from HMP Bronzefield Emma said:

“Imprisoning all those who disagree with you is the mark of a bully and we all know that at heart, bullies are cowards. So to the government we say carry on, bring down the combined might of your best lawyers and all the vast machinery of the state. We will not be cowed. Our numbers are growing because the general public knows we are on the right side of history”.




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Notes to Editors





[2] https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/ipsos-mori-issues-index-november-2021






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


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.