TV presenter Chris Packham says he supports measures taken by environmentalist campaigners

Chris Packham wants the mainstream media to focus more attention on climate change. Credit: ITV Border

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham says he supports environmental campaigners like Just Stop Oil who block roads and disrupt sporting events.

Chris Packham, who presents the BBC’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, said their actions "promote conversation". He also accused "mainstream media" of not giving climate change the attention he says it deserves.

Mr Packham spoke at a protest in Whitehaven against the first new deep coal mine in the UK for over 30 years.

Mr Packham said: “This should be at the forefront of all of our concerns. So I appreciate that people want to get that news space and to do that, they take drastic measures like throw soup on Van Gough paintings. They glue themselves to things.

"They disrupt sporting events. In doing so, they promote conversation. They get people thinking about that. If sometimes people have to take extreme steps, then yes, I do support that.

People attended a protest in Whitehaven. Credit: ITV

"If we had a more grounded mainstream media then those things wouldn't be required. Ultimately, we need a result, and the result needs to be that we have a planet that we can all continue to live on in a healthy, happy way.”

The naturalist, who’s has supported animal rights and other environmental campaigns in the past, has also come out against the plans for the mine in Cumbria.

He addressed a small crowd of environmentalists at the site of the planned new mine on Thursday.

Mr Packham said that the coal mine would go against the UK’s commitment to its net zero carbon targets.

He said: “We're seeing people drowning in floods in Italy. Climate crisis is here. There is no doubt about that. The only way we're going to address that is to stop the consumption of fossil fuels.

"And in that regard, we cannot be building new coal mines, not in the UK, not in a nation that knows better and has a government that is pledged to address targets when it comes to reaching net zero. Targets which are clearly not going to be reached if we progress with projects like this.”

Chris Packham was in West Cumbria making a documentary on the climate crisis for Channel Four.

The presenter filmed in and around the harbour and town centre as well as visiting the siteof the new coal mine at Woodhouse Colliery.

Supporters of the coal mine say it will bring investment and hundreds of new jobs to the area. Asked about that, Mr Packham said that jobs based on green industries would provide a more sustainable future.

He said: “I hope that the solution will be that we can invest in Whitehaven. We can provide green jobs. We can satisfy the community here, that we understand its needs and it wants and wishes but without building a coal mine. There is no place for coal in the future of the world, if we want a future for that world and that is why I've come here today.”

The Government approved the mine in December last year.

The company behind the scheme, West Cumbria Mining, says it will bring an investment of £165 million pounds and create 500 new jobs.

It would produce around 2.8 million tonnes of coking coal a year for the steelmaking industry.

One of its backers is local councillor David Moore. He said that he didn’t object to Chris Packham’s views on the mine but insisted that it would be carbon neutral. Cllr Moore said:“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and we welcome whoever wants to come and speakon it.

"We've got different views around what should happen here and what the mine'sfuture should be.

“We've talked about the green jobs for many years. I have not seen any created yet, they'reall talked about and they're all mentioned in the future.

“Actually the green jobs are going to be built on the back of steel when we look at theplanning inquiry that went ahead. It said clearly that this mine was carbon neutral. It will bethe cleanest mine to be opened that will be in existence. So it is the right thing to do.”

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