Insulate Britain protester arrested for blocking M25 is married to road boss responsible for traffic flow

AN Insulate Britain protester nicked for blocking the M25 is married to a road boss responsible for traffic flow.

Cathy Eastburn, 54, vowed to unleash hell on drivers but shares a £1.5million home with TfL’s Benedict Plowden.

The bizarre arrangement was called “staggeringly inappropriate”, with the Transport for London chief, 58, also accused of harbouring extremists.

His activist wife has been arrested several times during M25 blockades for Insulate Britain, which were last week the subject of a High Court injunction by TfL.

One driver who confronted the protesters said last night: “I wouldn’t like to comment on what their dinner conversation is like at the moment.”

Cambridge philosophy graduate Ms Eastburn is one of Britain’s most prolific climate activists and has been nicked on multiple occasions.

In 2019, the sound therapist and professional musician was arrested twice in London protesting for Extinction Rebellion — gluing herself to a hotel and a DLR train.

Her first known involvement in the Insulate Britain protests was on September 15 when she was pictured on the M25 near Dartford.

Injunction papers show she was arrested two days later, for another M25 protest.

On September 21 she was snapped glued to the road on the M25 near Cobham, Surrey, and was arrested again days later for a similar stunt at the Heathrow junction.

One furious woman got out of her car to tell her group: “I’ve got to feed my kids now. I need my money now, to feed my kids, but you don’t get that. You don’t get it.

“If you did, you wouldn’t be blocking normal people like me, trying to get to work to feed my kids. You’re ridiculous.”


Ms Eastburn bragged last month how she had been arrested four times protesting for Insulate Britain – but had not been quizzed once.

The mum to two girls aged 17 and 21 also whined online: “I am exhausted after three weeks of nonviolent civil disobedience.”

Her out-of-office reply to emails boasts: “If you’re reading this, it is because I have been arrested and possibly put in prison on remand.”

Insulate Britain activists have also brought traffic to a standstill at the Blackwall Tunnel and Wandsworth Bridge – right in the middle of TfL’s heartland.

Ms Eastburn has allowed fellow activist David McKenny, 38, to stay at the £1.5million home she shares with her husband in South London.

She and McKenny have pledged to “unleash hell” on innocent drivers in the run up to next month’s COP26 climate summit with yet more blockades of key roads and motorways.

Their domestic arrangement was last night blasted by Tory MP Greg Smith, who sits on the transport select committee.

He told the Sun: “Insulate Britain has caused untold misery for individuals and businesses over recent weeks. And 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.”

He went on: “It is unbelievable that someone in TfL – who have themselves been victim to these extremists – have been looking after these extremists in luxury.”

Mr Plowden, on £170,000 a year, has been tasked with “getting London moving after the pandemic”, though last night it emerged he was leaving his post.


London mayor Sadiq Khan, who oversees TfL, has previously accused Insulate Britain of risking people’s lives — and believes their protests have backfired.

He said: “I think the tactics of those people who are protesting on the M25 are completely wrong.

“You’re endangering your own life, you’re endangering the lives of those on the M25.

“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.

“You’re not making people like me more sympathetic to this issue of climate emergency.”

After a successful injunction last week, TfL claimed: “The safety of people travelling on the capital’s roads is our number one priority.”

Self-employed insulation-fitter Tom Watson, 37, who was hauled back by cops as he tried to confront the protesters, told how he felt sorry for Mr Plowden.

He said: “It’s laughable. It’s just a joke. They should be sitting down in their £1.5million homes and using their brains to come up with better solutions rather than stopping ordinary people getting to work.

“I feel for the husband. He’s working for TfL trying to get everyone moving and she’s stopping everyone. She should understand how important transport is. I wouldn’t like to comment on what their dinner conversation is like at the moment.”

Oxford graduate Mr Plowden is descended from William the Conqueror and has aristocratic ancestors on both sides of his family.

His paternal grandmother was deputy director general of the BBC.
His grandfather Lord Edwin Plowden was a prolific civil servant described as “shaping Britain from the economy to atomic energy”.

Then-PM Margaret Thatcher threw him a lavish retirement bash in 10 Downing Street.

Last night Transport for London revealed that Mr Plowden would be stepping down after 20 years at the organisation.

A spokesperson said: “We do not comment on the activities of the families of our staff. Ben Plowden has been a dedicated servant of London for many years – including playing a pivotal role in ensuring the London 2012 Games were a success. He decided several weeks ago that he will be leaving TfL at the end of October to pursue other opportunities.”

Asked about her husband’s job Ms Eastburn yesterday declined to comment.

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