JAILED Insulate Britain activist Emma Smart from Dorset is to be released from prison today along with five others who took part in a blockade on the M25.

Ecologist Ms Smart, 44, from Weymouth, was sentenced to four months in HMP Bronzefield last year after taking part in a roadblock protest on the M25 on October 8 during morning rush hour.

Ms Smart made further headlines by going on hunger strike for 26 days whilst in prison. Ahead of her release has said she felt it was the only option left to raise awareness, and accused Boris Johnson of being 'heartless or scared' for failing to prevent deaths caused by fuel poverty.

She and five other Insulate Britain campaigners will be released halfway through the sentences handed out by the High Court, after the Government took out an injunction to stop the roadblocks. 

Insulate Britain has previously described this as a delay tactic to avoid sending climate protesters to jail while the Cop26 climate talks were underway.

Meanwhile, the methods used during the protest attracted widespread criticism, with people accusing the group of blocking the path of emergency services.

Bournemouth Echo: Emma Smart is to be released from prison tomorrowEmma Smart is to be released from prison tomorrow

Now, as the six prepare for their release, they and their supporters are renewing calls for a fully funded national retrofit insulation effort in UK homes.

In a statement provided by Insulate Britain, Emma Smart said: "Boris Johnson is either heartless or scared. Protecting people living in Britain against the death and destruction of the climate crisis is our government’s most basic of duties.

"Further to this, without a national retrofit and insulate programme the government are saying it is ok for thousands of people to die in their homes every year, and continue to do so, particularly as the energy crisis we are in worsens. Adequate insulation should be a basic right.

"I was on hunger strike for 26 days whilst in prison. I would rather be doing my job, as a research scientist, progressing scientific analysis, as an ecologist. But instead, to enact the rapid change we need, this feels like the only option left. How long before the UK Government recognises their responsibility to keep people safe and warm?”

Bournemouth Echo: Supporters gathered outside Downing Street and held a 24 hour fast in solidarity with Emma whilst she was on hunger strike in HMP Bronzefield Supporters gathered outside Downing Street and held a 24 hour fast in solidarity with Emma whilst she was on hunger strike in HMP Bronzefield

Also being released are architect James Thomas, Dr Diana Warner, a retired GP, Oliver Rock, a carpenter; Roman Paluch, a warehouse operator, and Tim Speers, volunteer.

It means all but one of the 10 people from Insulate Britain who received prison time will have been freed, with the exception of Ben Taylor, a community volunteer, who has one more month left to serve.

Meanwhile, the architect who designed the London Eye, Julia Barfield MBE, has today spoken in support of the campaign.

She said: “I have huge admiration and respect for those who - understanding the urgency and gravity of the climate emergency and recognising the inadequacy of the government response - are willing to put themselves on the line to spotlight what should be done.

"Insulating the UK’s leaky homes will reduce energy need, CO2 emissions and fuel poverty while making the Uk more energy independent. According to the science we have only eight years left to take the necessary radical action. A mass program of housing retrofit is one of those vital actions."

Architects Climate Action Network added: "The nine Insulate Britain campaigners released this week should never have been sent to jail and their imprisonment is a clear sign of the UK government's eager push towards authoritarianism above taking any responsibility to tackle the climate crisis.

"The government has legally binding climate targets that must be met and there is no way to do that without insulating homes to dramatically reduce emissions. ACAN and our Households Declare team stand with Insulate Britain, as one of the many campaigns and organisations calling for a National retrofit strategy from the architecture and construction industry."