Greenpeace drapes UK leader Sunak’s home in black fabric over oil policy

Protest held after the government commits to granting hundreds of licences for North Sea oil and gas extraction.

A handout picture taken and released by environmental action group Greenpeace on August 3, 2023 shows Greenpeace activists on the roof of Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's manor house in Kirby Sigston, northern England, to protest at his backing for new oil and gas licences in the North Sea
Greenpeace activists protest British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's backing of new oil and gas licences in the North Sea at his private home in Yorkshire on August 3, 2023 [Luca Marino/Greenpeace United Kingdom handout via AFP]

Greenpeace activists have draped the private home of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in black fabric, stepping up their campaign against his government’s policy on oil drilling.

A picture posted by Greenpeace UK on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, showed four protesters atop the property in northern England on Thursday, covering it in swathes of black fabric, while two others hold a banner that reads, “Rishi Sunak – oil profits or our future?”

A source in Sunak’s office told the Reuters news agency that police were in attendance.

“We make no apology for taking the right approach to ensure our energy security, using the resources we have here at home so we are never reliant on aggressors like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for our energy,” the source said.

Sunak said on Wednesday that he was due to leave the country for a holiday that evening.

Britain adopted the target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 under former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019 and was quick to build up its renewable energy capacity.

But campaigners have criticised the government’s record in recent years. On Monday, it committed to granting hundreds of licences for North Sea oil and gas extraction as part of efforts to become more energy independent.

It also approved its first new deep coal mine in decades in December.

Sunak defended his environmental record on Wednesday, saying his government had done a better job than other key countries in cutting carbon emissions.

Need ‘a climate leader, not a climate arsonist’

Greenpeace said four activists climbed onto the roof of the prime minister’s home in Yorkshire to protest against his backing of the expansion of North Sea oil and gas licences.

“We desperately need our prime minister to be a climate leader, not a climate arsonist,” Greenpeace UK said in a statement.

A poll released on Wednesday showed that 67 percent of voters believe the government is handling environmental issues badly, the worst rating since YouGov began tracking public opinion on the issue in mid-2019.

Source: Reuters