Nigel Harvey – CEO of the Recolight compliance scheme and chair of the WEEE Scheme Forum – has been arrested at the London Extinction Rebellion protests.
The arrest took place at 4.08pm yesterday at Trafalgar Square, one of the central London sites where the climate activists plan to protest until 19 October.
He was released from Wood Green police station at around 5am this morning – Mr Harvey says he was not interviewed by police and was given no caution or charge, though he is still “under investigation”.
He is amongst the more than 320 Extinction Rebellion protesters who have been arrested in the first 24 hours of the protest, which follows similar non-violent actions in April.
Extinction Rebellion are calling for the government to act immediately to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, rather than the current 2050 target.
Speaking to letsrecycle.com before the protest, Mr Harvey said: “As a CEO of Recolight, you’d expect me to be passionate about the environment. So along with many others, I have tried to reduce my carbon footprint.
“But global emissions data shows that all our combined efforts have not been nearly enough. So I think more radical action is needed to make a difference, and that’s why I have joined Extinction Rebellion.”
Mr Harvey explained that he was scared by the climate crisis and described its likely effects – such as mass migration and food riots – as “too awful to contemplate”.
Mr Harvey said he wanted to use peaceful civil disobedience to disrupt ‘business as usual’ as a way of driving fundamental change and made clear he was willing to take the “personal sacrifice” of being arrested. He noted that a similar approach had worked for the US Civil Rights movement and India’s independence movement.
He added: “I’m incredibly proud to work in the waste industry – and particularly for producers from the lighting sector, which is doing so much to drive energy reduction.
“For me, perhaps more than anything, I want to be able to pass the mirror test in ten years’ time. I want to be able to look at myself, and know that I did act while I could.”