Insulate Britain protester is married to £170,000-a-year TfL boss

Revealed: Motorway-blocking Insulate Britain protester arrested multiple times for causing travel chaos is married to £170,000-a-year TfL boss in charge of keeping public transport moving

  • Cathy Eastburn is an Insulate Britain protester planning to ‘unleash hell’ on roads
  • She has been arrested several times at blockades and with Extinction Rebellion
  • Now revealed she is married to Ben Plowden, a Transport for London director
  • TfL’s services have been severely impacted by Insulate Britain as well as XR
  • Ms Eastburn also has allowed activist David McKenny to stay at their £1.5million South London family home

An Insulate Britain protester arrested for blocking the M25 is the wife of a Transport for London director, it has been revealed. 

Cathy Eastburn, 54, has vowed to ‘unleash hell’ on drivers even though her husband is public transport boss Benedict Plowden, 58.

Ms Eastburn has been arrested several times during M25 blockades with fringe group Insulate Britain and for other activities with Extinction Rebellion.

Her antics recently became the subject of a High Court injunction by TfL which means she could be jailed if she attempts to join a blockade again.

And £170,000-a-year Mr Plowden, who was charged with the Covid Restart and Recovery Scheme, has also been accused of ‘harbouring’ another eco-extremist in the South London home the couple share.

Cathy Eastburn glued herself to the roof of a DLR train at London’s Canary Wharf station in 2019

An Insulate Britain protester arrested for blocking the M25 is married to Benedict Plowden, a Transport for London director in charge of public transport Covid recovery scheme

The arrangement has been called ‘staggeringly inappropriate’, The Sun reported. 

Cambridge philosophy graduate Ms Eastburn has become one of Britain’s most prolific climate change activists.

She was apprehended four times in nine days as protesters from the campaign group blocked London’s Orbital Motorway last week.

But even the sound therapist was surprised by the lack of police action. While protesting she set her out-of-office email to: ‘If you’re reading this, it is because I have been arrested and possibly put in prison on remand.’

But Ms Eastburn was released without charge without being interviewed each time she was arrested.

Cathy Eastburn, 54, has vowed to ‘unleash hell’ on drivers even though her husband is public transport boss Benedict Plowden, 58

She told the Sunday Times she thought her actions were ‘proportionate’ because forcing drivers to sit in traffic for hours was ‘incomparable to the kind of chaos that’s coming down the track – major flooding and major food shortages’.

Mr Plowden meanwhile has been tasked with ‘getting London moving after the pandemic’, though last night it emerged he was leaving his post.

He has held a number of senior roles at TfL since joining in 2004, including Director of Borough Partnerships and Director of Strategy and Planning in Surface Transport.

Mr Plowden does have his own green credentials as well, described as a ‘leading environmental campaigner’ he founded climate group Living Streets which works to create a better walking environment across the country. 

Ms Eastburn is taken away by police after her DLR stunt for Extinction Rebellion in 2019

Ms Eastburn was apprehended four times in nine days as protesters from the campaign group blocked London ‘s Orbital Motorway last week

The £1.5million South London home he shares with Ms Eastburn is believed to have been used by activist David McKenny, 38, with whom Ms Eastburn pledged to ‘unleash hell’ on innocent drivers in the run up to next month’s COP26 climate summit.

Last night the couple were blasted by Tory MP and transport select committee member Greg Smith. 

‘Insulate Britain has caused untold misery for individuals and businesses over recent weeks,’ he told The Sun.

‘It is an  absolute kick in the teeth that someone senior in TfL — an arm of the British state — has been harbouring them in their house. This is unacceptable.’

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who oversees TfL, has previously accused Insulate Britain of risking people lives on busy roads.

‘You’re endangering your own life, you’re endangering the lives of those on the M25,’ he said previously.

‘They could be people rushing to get to a hospital, it could be they’re going to an appointment, and you’re jeopardising their safety by jumping in front of cars.’

BBC Climate Editor’s sister is Insulate Britain activist threatened with jail

ByTom Bedford and Jacinta Taylor For The Mail On Sunday 

The sister of the BBC climate editor is among the activists causing chaos on Britain’s main roads.

Cordelia Rowlatt, sister of Justin, is among 113 Insulate Britain protesters named on a National Highways injunction that would allow courts to jail repeat offenders.

The 54-year-old has been arrested twice for blocking roads and previously campaigned with Extinction Rebellion.

In a recent video, she said: ‘A few months ago, I was in court and I was told that my right to protest against the lack of action against climate change was less important than the rights of people to go about their daily business, such as car drivers. Now that really is mad.’

Cordelia Rowlatt, sister of Justin, is among 113 Insulate Britain protesters named on a National Highways injunction that would allow courts to jail repeat offenders

Cordelia, who runs a small farm in Frome, Somerset, was interviewed by her brother in 2006 as part of the BBC’s Ethical Man project in which he spent a year trying to reduce his environmental impact.

Another activist named on the injunction, Cambridge University philosophy graduate Cathy Eastburn, 54, is one of Britain’s most prolific protesters and has stripped outside parliament, superglued herself to a commuter train and once shouted at Sir David Attenborough for ‘not telling the truth’.

She has had 12 arrests within three years but still says: ‘I am not a criminal.’

Well-connected Serena Schellenberg, a 60-year-old ‘freelance climate activist’ is also named on the injunction.

She is the daughter of the late flamboyant businessman and socialite, Keith Schellenberg, who controversially bought the Scottish island of Eigg in the 1970s.

Speaking of a previous arrest to society magazine, Tatler, she said: ‘I’ve got the advantage of being a white, middle-aged woman. It wouldn’t be so easy if I was black, and the other thing is my character witnesses are peers of the realm.’

Retired vicar Tim Hewes, who is also on the injunction, has been arrested six times by three different police forces during the Insulate Britain protests.

The 71-year-old previously sewed together his lips on one protest and was jailed for 14 days for contempt of court after gluing himself to furniture and livestreaming proceedings during a subsequent court hearing.

Rev Hewes remains an ordained Church of England clergyman despite his criminal activities. 

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