An activist from Luton is among five climate protestors to receive prison sentences for their actions with Insulate Britain. El Litten, a programmer aged 35, was summoned to the High Court along with 19 other Insulate Britain protestors on February 1st. When the court was due to return for the afternoon session, Litten and three others sat down outside the Court of Justice and glued their hands together.
While other protestors received suspended sentences, the act of resistance at the hearing earned Litten a custodial sentence for contempt of court. The four were sentenced to between 24 and 32 days.
Insulate Britain, as the name suggests, demand that the government take the “no-brainer step to tackle rising energy bills and the climate crisis by insulating Britain’s leaky homes.” Their protests throughout 2021 caused controversy by blocking ports and motorways.
Energy bills have risen by record rates in Britain in recent months, with the 54% increase in energy costs pushing millions of households into energy poverty. Government programmes to insulate homes have stalled, with the Green Homes Grant abandoned in 2021 after helping to improve just 47,500 of a planned 600,000 homes. No replacement to the scheme has been announced.
Insulating homes would address the cost of living crisis, improve health outcomes, while also cutting carbon emissions.
In a statement, Litten explained her reasons for taking part in the protest at the High Court:
“It’s frustrating that our society allows politicians and businesses to lie with impunity, to make pretty speeches while the truth is that their actions and decisions are causing harm and death on a massive scale. I’d ask the government to do what is right, to act in order to protect lives, not to protect their own power.”
“I cannot stand by whilst our government causes so much damage and so many deaths, both in the UK and on a much bigger scale around the world. I don’t want to be part of the terrible injustice of the climate crisis, with the worst effects always landing on those who have done least to cause them.”
El Litten has previously taken part in Extinction Rebellion actions in Luton, and was one of three XR Luton protestors arrested at Luton Airport in 2019.