TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor

EXCLUSIVE: TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor – with free travel card perk – as she says she is just a ‘human being doing her best’

  • 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

The Insulate Britain protester married to a Transport for London director tonight said she was ‘just a human being doing her best’ – as he stepped down from his £170,000-a-year role and perks that entitled her to free travel.

Cathy Eastburn, 54, had previously vowed to ‘unleash hell’ on drivers during her protesting, despite her long-term partner’s role.

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

Her husband public transport boss Benedict Plowden, 58, is leaving TfL at the end of the month after standing down a few weeks ago.

She said last night from the door of her private estate £1.6million property: ‘As you already know my husband works for TfL.

‘I’m working as an activist if you want to call it that.

‘But I’m just a human being doing my best.’

 It is understood TfL bosses were aware of her views and actions, but insist it was Mr Plowden who resigned for unrelated reasons to ‘pursue new opportunities’.

He had most recently been in charge of the Covid Restart and Recovery Scheme.

TfL operates a reward scheme for staff, which includes free travel for workers and their partners.

It means Ms Eastburn may well have used her free public transport to get to her various stunts and protests, which included gluing herself to a DLR train at London’s Canary Wharf.

A Transport for London 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.’

TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor
TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor

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

TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor
TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor

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

Ms Eastburn was entitled to free travel because she was a partner of a TfL worker

Ms. Eastburn was entitled to free travel because she was a partner of a TfL worker

Ms. Eastburn’s actions 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 ‘harboring’ another eco-extremist in the South London home the couple share.

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.

In December 2019 she avoided jail for gluing herself to a train in London.

She was sentenced for halting Docklands Light Railway services at Canary Wharf station in east London as part of a series of protests carried out across the city.

Eastburn was given a 12-month conditional discharge alongside Mark Ovland, 36, and Luke Watson, 30, who both took part in the demonstration with her.

The trio had denied the charges of obstructing an engine or a carriage using a railway on April 17 this year, claiming the stunt was justified because of the threat of climate change.

TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor
TfL boss STEPS DOWN from his £170,000 job after his wife is revealed as hardcore Insulate Britain protestor

Eastburn speaks to protesters from Extinction Rebellion, from the top of a boat, placed outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on July 15, 2019

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

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

Sentencing them at Inner London Crown Court, Judge Silas Reid warned against protesting that would amount to them committing further criminal offences.

‘Each of you planned these offences and were prepared to go to prison for committing them,’ he said.

‘You each are clear that you did as you did to raise the alarm as to the dire situation you each believe the earth faces in respect of climate change.

But 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.

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 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. Pictured: Being arrested in 2019

Ms Eastburn was apprehended four times in nine days as protesters from the campaign group blocked London ‘s Orbital Motorway last week. Pictured: Being arrested in 2019.

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.’

 

Refrence: Daily Mail

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