Jailed Insulate Britain eco-zealot who is on hunger strike in prison releases defiant video boasting about how she has ‘stepped up and ‘had to do what was necessary’

  • Emma Smart, 44, given four-month sentence for Insulate Britain’s M25 stunt
  • Video shared online shows ecologist, from Weymouth, defending her actions
  • After being jailed alongside eight eco-warriors she called for ‘civil disobedience’

An Insulate Britain eco-warrior who went on hunger strike in protest at being jailed for taking part in protests that brought Britian’s motorways to a standstill has urged more eco-zealots to step up and continue the group’s extreme campaign.

Emma Smart, 44, – who will be housed in Europe’s largest women’s prison which is home to murderers and child rapists – was handed a four-month sentence for taking part in a protest on the M25 on October 8.

In a video shared by Insulate Britain online, a short recording of Smart, believed to have been taken before she was sent to HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, can be seen in which she defends her actions and called for more civil disobedience.

Smart, an ecologist by trade, said: ‘It was quite an extreme campaign, you know, going onto the motorway but we’re in an extreme situation and I felt I had to do what was necessary.

‘I stepped up, we all need to step up. Non-violent civil disobedience is the only way we’re going to enact change.

‘We don’t need nine of us, or 20 of us in prison, we all need to put our liberty on the line because we are facing losing everything.’

Insulate Britain eco mob’s Emma Smart, 44 has urged more eco-zealots to step up and continue the group’s extreme campaign

Emma Smart, from Weymouth, announced via an Insulate Britain spokesman that she would be going on hunger strike

In the clip shared to Twitter, Smart explains her actions leading up to taking part in the mob’s motorway protests earlier this year. 

Speaking with a row of fence panels behind her, she said: ‘I don’t know what more I can do and then IB [Insulate Britain] came along and yes, this was a way I could step up. 

‘It was quite an extreme campaign, you know, going onto the motorway but we’re in an extreme situation and I felt I had to do what was necessary.

‘So I feel this is the moment. Our government could have accepted and acted or done something meaningful in relation to our demands.

‘But they chose to imprison us and really that has got to send a strong message to everyone. Now is the time. We need to come together, whatever we’re doing is not enough. 

In a video shared by Insulate Britain online, a short recording of Smart, believed to have been taken before she was sent to HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, can be seen in which she defends her actions and called for more civil disobedience

Emma Smart told the court that the proceedings were ‘obscene’ and glowered at barristers representing National Highways. However, the biologist has faced allegations of hypocrisy after undertaking a gas-guzzling 81,000-mile drive across the globe with her husband Andy Smith. Above: The couple are pictured with their diesel-fuelled Toyota before the trip in 2012

Emma Smart (left) waves to supporters as she arrives at the High Court in London for sentencing yesterday morning

‘I stepped up, we all need to step up. Non-violent civil disobedience is the only way we’re going to enact change.

‘We don’t need nine of us, or 20 of us in prison, we all need to put our liberty on the line because we are facing losing everything.

‘Our life support systems are collapsing, society is going to collapse. Be part of that change while you have the chance.’ 

Insulate Britain have been contacted for comment. 

Following two months of repeated motorway chaos caused by Insulate Britain, Smart told the High Court that she was there to ‘ensure future survival’ and compared watching the climate crisis to watching a child trapped in a burning house. 

‘She said: ‘I’m asking when you consider my sentence that my actions are proportionate to the crisis we are facing, where 8,500 people die a year from cold and hunger in their own homes. I cannot stand by and watch. 

‘I would run to them. Our Government is betraying us, our vulnerable people and our children’s future. I will not be a bystander while our Government fails and betrays its people, I will continue to do what is necessary.’  

Insulate Britain eco-zealot Emma Smart is seen being led away in handcuffs from the High Court in London yesterday

This week, Smart was sent to HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, which was Britain’s first purpose-built prison for women when it opened in 2004. Up to 572 women inmates can be held at the Category A jail across four houseblocks which can hold about 130 people in each one.  

Announcing her intention to go on hunger strike after being jailed, 44-year-old Smart said: ‘Our Government is betraying us, betraying our vulnerable people and betraying our children’s future. 

‘I believe that my intentions are morally right, even if my actions are deemed legally wrong. This court may see me as being on the wrong side of the law, but in my heart I know I am on the right side of history. I will not be a bystander.’ 

She told the court that the proceedings were ‘obscene’ and glowered at barristers representing National Highways. 

But Smart, a biologist, has previously been criticised for undertaking a gas-guzzling 81,000-mile drive across the globe with her partner, Andy Smith.

Mr Smith, 45, who volunteers as a climate activist full time but has not taken part in any demonstrations with Extinction Rebellion offshoot Insulate Britain, said he is ‘terrified’ for her. Mr Smith said he was aware that Smart would be going on a hunger strike if she was put behind bars, adding: ‘It’s something we discuss quite frequently’. 

He added: ‘She is incredibly resolute in her actions. I stand by her in all the decisions she makes. Morally they are in the right in this instance and she really stands by her convictions. 

Stone (top row, middle) poses with eight other Insulate Britain eco-zealots outside the High Court after they were jailed for the group’s motorway stunts that caused chaos for Brits

‘She’s an incredibly passionate person who has spent her whole entire adult life trying to save wildlife and 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 process.’

He added that the sentences were less than the supporters of the group were expecting so they were ‘relieved’, but still felt it was a ‘complete injustice’. 

He said: ‘I completely stand with them on what they’ve done and how they’ve acted. I would obviously rather the judge side with them but they did break the law and then they were willing to face the consequences of breaking the law.’ 

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