MP claims Extinction Rebellion left 20 tonnes of rubbish on streets after protest

Extinction Rebellion climate change protester tents in Trafalgar Square, London, in October, 2019 (Picture: AP)

Extinction Rebellion (XR) members left 20 tonnes of rubbish on the streets of London after protests last year, an MP has claimed.

Cities of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken said the council incurred the cost of cleaning up the mess, which meant services had to be taken away from residents and businesses.

More than 1,400 people were arrested during eight days of XR action in October.

MP Ms Aiken told host Nick Ferrari on LBC radio: "The clean-up cost would have been in the hundreds of thousands.

"I can tell you exactly that we picked up 20 tonnes of rubbish left behind by Extinction Rebellion protesters during their time here. 

“But also on one night, when they were camping in Trafalgar Square, six tonnes of rubbish.

"So there is that knock-on effect for local authorities, who don't get the extra money. 

“Westminster Council have to absorb that and it means that they have to take services away from people and businesses."

Extinction Rebellion block central London (Picture: Getty)

Former policeman Richard Ecclestone, who is a member of Extinction Rebellion, told Ms Aiken to take her complaint to the police and added XR had an “excellent record of clearing up” when they were allowed to.

He said: “The overwhelming majority of the rubbish referred to by Nickie Aiken was personal property that was seized by the police - bins, toilets, tents and accessibility equipment for disabled activists - presumably as a deliberate tactic to make life as uncomfortable as possible for peaceful protesters from Extinction Rebellion. 

“This includes the seizure of personal property belonging to protesters at Trafalgar Square under the terms of what we now know was an unlawful Section 14 order.” 

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Ms Aiken appeared on LBC to back the radio station’s Enough Is Enough campaign, which is fighting for more police power to stop disruptive protests.

She added: "These police officers want to be policing our streets, they want to be stopping the drug dealers, they want to be stopping the crime that is going on.

"That's what we need our police officers to be doing, not standing on the streets, waiting to see if a protest is going to turn nasty."