Insulate Britain: Noble eco warriors or pains in the neck?

Politicians across the region have expressed very different views on Insulate Britain.

Insulate Britain protesters have been a regular sight for drivers down south in recent weeks
Insulate Britain protesters have been a regular sight for drivers down south in recent weeks

Some consider their crusade a noble one, arguing that the campaigners are drawing attention to an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Others see them as selfish varmints who should be blasted off the roads with water cannons.

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The latter view is held by Marco Longhi, the Conservative MP for Dudley North. He said the campaign had been handled "appallingly" and that protesters were behaving in an "innately selfish" manner by blocking roads.

"They are only thinking about what matters to them rather than the fact that there are people out there who are not just fighting for their lives in an ambulance, but fighting for their jobs, and are desperate to get back to normal after Covid," he said.

"It is just completely wrong and whatever message they are trying to give has got lost because of how they have acted. Of course, we should have all homes insulated, but this isn't the way to go about it.

"I'd invest in water cannons to spray them off the road, then frog march them into some electric powered police fans and take them to an insulated cell nearby to dry out."

Police officers move Insulate Britain protesters occupying a roundabout leading from the M25 motorway to Heathrow Airport

Councillor Duncan Kerr, who represents the controlling Green Party on Oswestry Town Council, said Insulate Britain had brought to the public's attention an "absolutely critical issue" that the Government had failed on.

"In Europe we have some of the leakiest, draughtiest and coldest homes," he said. "If the current government had stuck with previous plans, every house built would have been zero carbon by six years ago.

"They reneged on that, so we are still building homes that will need to be insulated in the future. How daft is that? There are millions of homes in the country that haven't even got loft insulation.

"We really do need to wake up to this, and even those who are a bit sceptical about climate change will have noticed the dramatic increase in gas prices and the way we protect people from fuel poverty is to insulate their homes.

"I commend anybody who brings this issue to the attention of the public and the lawmakers."

Mr Kerr, whose first job in local government was to give out loft insulation grants, conceded that protesters were treading a "fine line" and that annoying the public was "not good if you want people to support your cause".

"Equally it is very frustrating that the government has been so deaf to this issue," he added. "The language is now right, but they need to put some resources into it.

"Wishful words are going to achieve anything, we need actions."

The Greens in Oswestry have proposed the formation of a taskforce between central government and local authorities to focus on issues including home insulation.

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