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Fact check: how popular is Insulate Britain?

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Long-suffering commuters have had further misery this month, thanks to the shenanigans of eco-warriors Insulate Britain. The group are an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion and have today blocked the M25 for a sixth time – despite a High Court injunction warning that they face jail if they carried on disrupting traffic on the UK’s busiest motorway.

Members of the group argue that the ends justify the means – that their disruptive methods help to bring attention to their cause. But is that the case? Polling by Redfield and Wilton for The Spectator, conducted on Wednesday 22 September, shows that when asked how much they had read or heard about the sit-in protests on the M25, opinion was split. Just over half – 55 per cent – replied they knew a ‘great deal’ or a ‘moderate amount’ while 25 per cent said ‘some’ and 19 per cent said ‘nothing at all.’

So less than one in five had not heard of the protests. But how useful were they in conveying the purpose of Insulate Britain’s apocalyptic activism? By contrast only 16 per cent said they had read or heard a great deal about this element with 39 per cent opting for a ‘moderate amount’ while 30 per cent replied ‘some’ and 15 per cent ‘nothing at all’. 

Amusingly though, the more people hear about Insulate Britain, the less likely they seem to support their protests. Nearly half – 49 per cent – of the 1,500 UK citizens surveyed said they opposed the protests, compared to 27 per cent in support and 20 per cent undecided. Even worse for the eco-warriors, an overwhelming majority of the British public – 62 per cent – said they believe disruptive protests make the public less supportive of taking action on climate change compared to just 8 per cent who think it makes the public more supportive.

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