Britons’ Opposition to Insulate Britain Grows After 3-week Action by the Eco-Activist Group: Poll

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
October 8, 2021 Updated: October 8, 2021

More Britons are now against the actions of Insulate Britain (IB) after the environment activist group blocked motorways and other busy roads for the past three weeks, a new poll suggests.

A survey result (pdf) published on Friday by YouGov showed that 72 percent of the people surveyed on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 were against the group’s actions, up 13 percent from the result of a survey from three weeks prior.

Around 18 percent of participants supported IB’s actions, and 10 percent said they didn’t know the answer.

Among participants who considered the environmental issue the most important to them, about 58 percent opposed IB’s tactics, 33 percent supported them, and 10 percent couldn’t decide.

Asked if IB’s actions—such as blocking roads and fixing themselves on roads and other infrastructure or objects—help or hinder their cause from their own perspective, 67 percent of those surveyed said they hinder their cause, a 10 percent increase from three weeks prior.

Nine percent of the people surveyed thought IB’s actions help their cause, down 3 percent from three weeks prior, while 16 percent said they don’t make any difference (down 3 percent) and 7 percent didn’t have an answer (down 5 percent).

Among those who considered the environment the number one issue, 60 percent said IB’s actions hinder their cause, while 17 percent said they were helpful, 16 percent said they didn’t make a difference, and 7 percent didn’t know.

Asked to consider the same question from the perspective of “the public,” more people thought the IB’s tactics hinder their cause.

Epoch Times Photo
Handout photo issued by Insulate Britain of protesters from Insulate Britain blocking Old Street roundabout in central London on Oct. 8, 2021. (Insulate Britain via PA)

However, as the government announced planned legislation to fine or imprison people who block roads on Tuesday, more people are saying they don’t want these people jailed.

The pollster asked people if they supported the imprisonment of the protesters who obstruct traffic on motorways and main roads. About 57 percent of those surveyed said they were opposed to the idea, a significant jump from the survey result of a previous survey on Sept. 23, in which only 20 percent of the respondents opposed the idea.

Around 34 percent of all respondents surveyed this week supported prison terms for traffic-blocking protesters, the number went down to 28 percent among those who considered the environment their top issue.

The percentage of people supporting the imprisonment of road-blockers fell from 68 percent on Sept. 23, to 34 percent this week.

YouGov said 1,667 adults across Britain participated in the survey.

Insulate Britain protests
Drivers stand watching from their cars as traffic is halted during a roadblock by protesters from Insulate Britain at a roundabout leading from the M25 motorway to Heathrow Airport in London on Sept. 27, 2021. (Steve Parsons/PA)

IB activists blockaded a number of motorways and busy roads since Sept. 13, demanding the government insulate 29 million British homes by 2030.

A number of injunctions were issued to prohibit the activists from blocking the motorways, but the apologetic yet adamant activists went on with their actions, disregarding threats of fines and imprisonment.

The group blocked the M25 motorway again on Friday, as well as a major London roundabout, infuriating motorists.

Speaking on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” programme on Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the activists’ actions are “completely and utterly unacceptable,” adding that the police have been serving injunction papers to “named individuals.”

“When it comes to injunctions, you are in fact in contempt of court, and I’m hoping, I’m sure that the courts will want to take that behaviour into account when they come up against justice,” Shapps said.

Epoch Times Photo
Climate activists from the group Insulate Britain block the road as police officers work to remove and arrest them during a demonstration in central London on Oct. 8, 2021. (Daniel Sorabji/ AFP via Getty Images)

In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, Insulate Britain said it “recognises and understands the publics [sic] frustrations over the ongoing traffic disruption.”

“We accept that we are not popular,” the statement reads.

“We wish to draw attention to the fact that Sir David King has said that the next ‘three to four years will determine the future of humanity.’ The fate of humanity, that’s all our mothers and children, all our hospitals and roads, our economy and, our food supplies. Our government is not taking the most cost-effective solutions to avoid this future and we are seeking to bring attention to this.”

In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, a government spokesperson said, “Peaceful protest is a fundamental right of our democracy, but it must be within the law. We cannot allow this repeated, reckless and dangerous behaviour to continue on our roads, causing misery and putting lives at risk.”

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.