UK PM plans new security measures for family home
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has applied to build a “timber post and rail fence” around his North Yorkshire constituency home, planning documents say, according to British media reports published on Sunday. This comes just over two months after five Greenpeace activists were arrested for scaling the residence.
The fence, which should be 50 meters long and 1.1 meters tall, will “provide a simple visual and modest physical barrier to discourage incursion onto the residential property,” the application submitted on October 11 – the final day of the Conservative Party’s annual conference – details.
The document adds that “the proposal gives rise to no perceivable harm in heritage terms or from a wider planning perspective and planning permission should be duly granted” and calls for a “prompt decision given the simplicity of the proposals.”
According to the Daily Mail’s report, Sunak is expected to pay for the fence rather than use public funds.
The application follows the August 3 arrest of five Greenpeace activists who had scaled the prime minister’s manor house and draped black fabric from the rooftop in protest against plans by Sunak’s government to issue over 100 new licenses for the extraction of oil and natural gas from the North Sea.
The protest was heavily criticized by figures on both sides of the UK’s political spectrum, though Sunak was vacationing in California with his family at the time it took place. Nonetheless, a senior member of the North Yorkshire Police said at the time of the incident that it represented a “major breach of security” and called for an investigation into the circumstances of the demonstration.
One of the protestors, Alex Wilson, said in a video released on social media from atop Sunak’s residence that the protest was necessary because the PM “has opened the door to a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea while large parts of our world are literally on fire.”
“This will be a disaster for the climate,” she added. Greenpeace said in a statement that the protest would not have gone ahead had Sunak been at home.
Following the protest at Sunak’s home, his spokesperson said engaging with Greenpeace would no longer be "appropriate.”
“We obviously don’t think that people who are accused of breaking the law should have a seat at the table in discussions with the government,” an official statement said.