Defra to stop engagement with Greenpeace following protest



Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey has ordered officials in her department to not engage with Greenpeace after activists from the environmental group staged a protest on the roof of Rishi Sunak’s West Yorkshire home.

The four Greenpeace activists who draped 200 sq metres of black fabric over the Prime Minister’s (PM) house on 3 August were arrested by North Yorkshire police.

A fifth activist was later arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance in connection with the stunt.

North Yorkshire Police said: “All five suspects who were arrested following the protest in Kirby Sigston on 3 August, have been released on conditional police bail to allow for further enquiries to be carried out. The investigation remains ongoing.”

Following the protest, Coffey told civil servants in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to cease all communications with Greenpeace indefinitely.

Dismissing Coffey’s decision, Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director, Will McCallum, said: “This isn’t about the government engaging with Greenpeace, it’s about them engaging with the world around them. The planet is on fire and Rishi Sunak is acting like nothing’s happening.”

According to a report in The Telegraph, Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps has also given “strict orders” not to engage with the charity to his department but the instructions were in place before the protest.

Sunak might disagree with our approach, but it’ll cost us all if he ignores the devastating realities of the climate crisis.

Greenpeace says the protest was prompted by the PM backing a major expansion of North Sea oil and gas drilling. Last week (31 July), Rishi Sunak defended granting over 100 new oil and gas licences off the coast of Scotland claiming the decision is “entirely consistent” with the government’s goal to reach net zero by 2050. In the government’s announcement, it said the expansion would increase “energy security”.

GreenpeaceThe Greenpeace activists stayed on the roof of Sunak’s property, which was unoccupied at the time as the PM and his family are on holiday, for five hours. They used ladders and climbing ropes to scale the building. After discussions, the protesters came down from the roof and were arrested before being released under investigation.

McCallum commented: “If the Conservatives want to avoid tanking votes at the next election, they need to listen to the public who want bold action on climate, nature, sewage and pollution. The action we took yesterday was entirely peaceful.

“Rishi Sunak’s government is ignoring public concerns and the repeated warnings from experts and civil society groups. Sunak might disagree with our approach, but it’ll cost us all if he ignores the devastating realities of the climate crisis.”

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