Thérèse Coffey orders Defra to cut ties with Greenpeace after protesters climbed onto Rishi Sunak's roof
The environment secretary has decided that Defra should "cease engagement" with Greenpeace until further notice
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This comes after a group of Greenpeace activists were arrested on Thursday (3 August), after they scaled the Prime Minister's £2 million Yorkshire manor house and draped it in "oil-black fabric", in protest of his plans to grant new oil and gas licences during the climate crisis. Sunak and his family were not home at the time of the protests.
Senior political correspondent for The Guardian Aubrey Allegretti Tweeted on Friday that Coffey had ordered Defra - the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - to "immediately cease engagement with Greenpeace".
"Any planned meetings/communications with the group have been axed until further notice," he added. "It follows the stunt yesterday when activists clambered on top of the PM's home."
The Express reported that its own political correspondent had also seen the memo from Coffey, which read: "You will have seen the coverage of Greenpeace in the media today, 3 August, which involved a protest at the Prime Minister’s constituency home.
"Following this activity, the Secretary of State has taken the decision that the Defra Group should cease engagement with Greenpeace until further notice. This includes any planned meetings or communications," it continued.
"If your teams have any engagement with Greenpeace planned, can you please contact External Affairs as soon as possible to discuss. Please can you also alert the External Affairs team with any correspondence received from Greenpeace."
The environmental group is understood to have regular meetings with Defra staff, and was consulted on some environmental issues, the Express said.
Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director, Will McCallum, told NationalWorld: "Most people are looking on with horror at the news of wildfires, extreme flooding and searing heat waves, but Sunak and his government are doubling down on the fossil fuels which have got us into this mess.
"This isn’t about the government engaging with Greenpeace, it’s about them engaging with the world around them," he continued. "The planet is on fire and Rishi Sunak is acting like nothing’s happening."
If the Conservatives wanted to avoid tanking votes at the next election, he continued, "they need to listen to the public who want bold action on climate, nature, sewage and pollution".
"The action we took yesterday was entirely peaceful. We were diligent in our approach to safety and ensured that no one was home. The truth is, Rishi Sunak’s Government is ignoring public concerns and the repeated warnings from experts and civil society groups," Mr McCallum added.
"Sunak might disagree with our approach, but it’ll cost us all if he ignores the devastating realities of the climate crisis.”