Chris Packham discusses blowing up pipeline and praises eco protester

Chris Packham and the eco militants: BBC Springwatch presenter discusses blowing up oil pipeline with green campaigner and praises ‘highly-intelligent’ protester jailed for bringing M25 to 40-hour standstill in new documentary

  • BBC star Packham spoke to ‘How To Blow Up A Pipeline’ author Andreas Malm

Chris Packham discussed blowing up an oil pipeline with a a green campaigner in a new documentary.

The BBC Springwatch presenter also praised the ‘highly intelligent’ Just Stop Oil protester who was jailed for bringing the M25 to a 40-hour standstill.

The documentary, titled Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break The Law? airing on Channel 4 tonight explores the contentious issue of whether environmental activists are right to break the law in their pursuit of climate action. 

Packham travels to Malmo, in Sweden, by train and meets up with ‘radical’ Swedish activist Andreas Malm.  The author of ‘How To Blow Up A Pipeline’ says blocking traffic and throwing paint isn’t working and more extreme ‘shocking violent action’ is needed.

The naturalist also goes on to describe jail protester Marcus Decker as ‘highly intelligent’ in the programme, and says he is being tortured behind bars ‘for pointing out that we are in a dire predicament’. 

Decker used ropes to scale the Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the Dartford Crossing, causing gridlock when police closed it to traffic last October. 

Chris Packham appearing on Good Morning Britain to discuss his Channel 4 documentary, ‘Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break The Law?’ 

Just Stop Oil protester Marcus Decker (pictured) was jailed in April alongside Morgan  Trowland for bringing the M25 to a 40-hour standstill 

The pair used ropes to scale the Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the Dartford Crossing, and slept in hammocks in freezing temperatures overnight 

He was jailed for two years and seven months in April for causing a public nuisance, which his lawyer described as the ‘longest’ given for a peaceful protest case in modern times. Fellow protester Morgan Trowland was given a three year prison term.  

The pair hoisted a banner between two pillars of the bridge, which links the M25 in Essex and Kent, and slept in hammocks in freezing temperatures overnight.

In the documentary, Packham and Malm are seen sitting on the beach in south-western town Falsterbo talking about blowing up oil pipelines, although Malm says he would never ask his mother or eight-year-old daughter to do it. 

‘Pipelines are the actual part of the problem, so people in the climate movement should disrupt them,’ Malm says. 

READ MORE: Suella Braverman slams Chris Packham after wildlife presenter insisted it is ‘ethically responsible’ for eco mob to break the law and warned an oil refinery could be blown up

‘That doesn’t necessarily mean people have to put actual explosives on the pipeline and then blow them up, but disrupt their construction – yes… and then maybe blow them up.’ 

The Springwatch presenter has since seen Decker in prison and said he found the visit ‘traumatic’.  

It comes after the 62-year-old was slammed today by Home Secretary Suella Braverman for backing eco activists who break the law in protest against the government over climate change policies.

Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Madeley also took aim at Packham and suggested his endorsement was akin to IRA and ISIS terrorists justifying violence.

Viewers will see the Countryfile presenter visit Decker at Highpoint Prison tonight in his Channel 4 documentary ‘Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break Law?’ in which he also discusses blowing up oil pipelines. 

Packham interviews ‘radical’ Swedish activist Andreas Malm in the documentary where the pair sit on a beach and discuss about blowing up oil pipelines 

Malm says called on people within the climate change movement to ‘disrupt’ pipelines, although he said he would never ask his mother or eight-year-old daughter to do it

Packham joins Decker’s partner Holly Cullen-Davies for a family visit to see the JSO activist. 

Standing outside the prison walls, Packham says: ‘I found the whole thing pretty traumatic. It’s not a healthy place. Look at it, there’s double fencing there, then razor wire around the top of it, there’s CCTV and floodlights.

‘The people responsible for orchestrating that should be utterly ashamed of themselves. They’ve achieved nothing. 

READ MORE: Chris Packham’s sniff of goshawk chick on BBC’s The One Show is at centre of police probe over claims that it was a ‘disturbance’ of a protected species

‘They’ve achieved nothing other than brutally… they’re essentially torturing a highly intelligent young man who is pointing out that we are in a dire predicament and we need to do something about it.’

Packham is seen throughout the documentary trying to come to terms with his own internal struggle about whether he should be breaking the law in protest over the handling of the climate change crisis. 

He joins a JSO slow-march in London where motorists are seen blaring their horns at protesters, while a passerby is also seen calling an activist a d******* for throwing orange paint over the headquarters of Conservative think-tank Policy Exchange. 

He later meets up with Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam who even asks Packham to break the law and get ‘banged up’ because ‘people need inspiration’.

He also interviews Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam and asks him if he could orchestrate something to happen that would bring ‘us closer to that tipping point’

Hallam is seen asking Packham to do something in order to ‘get banged up’ because ‘people need inspiration’

Chris Packham, pictured, has appeared at the latest march by Just Stop Oil eco-zealots in London today. He is understood to be filming a documentary about ‘non-violent’ protests 

Just Stop Oil protesters are pictured on Friday holding up traffic in central London during their latest protest in the capital 

Packham says in response: ‘If you can convince me that’s the best thing to do then that’s on my agenda, there’s no question about that.’ 

The naturalist finally comes to an answer to the question he has been in turmoil over for some time as the programme draws to a close. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has criticised Packham for backing activists who break the law saying he is ‘incredibly irresponsible and reckless’ 

‘For me myself I’ve got to raise my voice,’ he says. ‘If you are an activist who has already made the decision to break the law – as long as no one is hurt and there is no lasting environmental damage – you’ll have my support.

‘Personally, I think I’ve reached a point where I now consider it the ethically responsible thing to do.’

The BBC Countryfile presenter earlier this month gave his backing to eco activists breaking the law and even suggested a ‘radical flank’ of the climate change movement could see oil refineries being ‘blown up’.

Ms Braverman, appeared on GMB this morning, and hit out at Packham saying she totally disagreed with his view that protests could be taken much further.

Madeley said some people have also suggested Packham is endorsing the violence by not condemning it.

Ms Braverman replied: ‘That’s incredibly irresponsible and reckless. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the last ten years when it comes to the environment.’

She added: ‘I totally refute what Chris Packham and organisations like Just Stop Oil stand for. They take a militant, aggressive approach to prosecuting their cause. Totally unacceptable.’

Mr Packham, pictured here with three goshawk chicks in June this year, was criticised for sniffing one of them

A TV segment featuring the naturalist was reported to the police amid claims his actions could be a classed as a ‘disturbance’ to the protected birds

Packham told the Radio Times earlier this month: ‘The Suffragettes set fire to things, smashed a lot of glass, attacked people on the street.

‘And in apartheid, they were blowing up trains, blowing up factories. What the climate movement is grudgingly having to accept is that maybe that radical flank will develop.

READ MORE HERE: Eco protests like Just Stop Oil AREN’T working, says Chris Packham 

‘At the moment, no one is blowing up an oil refinery, but a lot of people think that is very likely to happen.’

It comes amid Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly being poised to water down some of the Government’s key net zero pledges.

The Prime Minister is expected to use a speech this week to set out a change of approach on climate action.

According to the BBC, this could include pushing back the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years to 2035.

There could also be a weakening of the promise to phase out the installation of new gas boilers by 2035.

It was reported tonight that the Government could instead state it wants only 80 per cent of new gas boilers to be phased out by that year.

Packham said today politicians are still making the wrong decisions over climate change.

The eco-warrior was blasted by the Countryside Alliance in May for standing alongside Just Stop Oil in its ‘daft’ slow-march in London and was warned he risked sparking a fresh BBC impartiality row.

Packham faced calls to be sacked after urging his followers on social media to support an XR event, amid accusations he had breached BBC impartiality guidelines 

Packham pictured on the fourth day of The Big One climate change protest outside parliament, staged by Extinction Rebellion in April 2023

He was photographed near the Strand as part of filming for his documentary on nonviolent protests appeared to chat to the activists and was overheard claiming: ‘If it isn’t a disruptive protest it doesn’t get news.’

READ MORE: Chris Packham calls for a ‘tornado of change’ to stop global warming and urges the public to consider breaking the law to protect the climate

Speaking to the MailOnline, Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, suggested Packham’s actions could spark an impartiality row at the BBC.

He said: ‘Groups like Just Stop Oil and Animal Rising are simply alienating the public with their daft stunts and selfish behaviour.

‘Chris Packham should be very careful aligning himself with groups that cause so much misery to hardworking people, not least because of the reputational damage to the RSPCA and the BBC who he is closely associated with.’

Even Packham himself previously said the current protests ‘infuriate and bore people’, reported The Telegraph.

The BBC star has sparked a string of controversies over the years, most recently last month when police launched an investigation after footage emerged of Packham sniffing a goshawk chick on The One Show.

The clip sparked a complaint from one viewer after he leaned in and sniffed one of the animals – which are reputed to have a ‘characteristic scent’ – saying this could be a classed as a breach of a law which makes it a crime to ‘intentionally or recklessly disturb’ goshawk chicks, reported The Telegraph.

Packham denied having done anything wrong or illegal, adding that the people concerned should ‘worry less about a naturalist having an occasional sniff’ and instead focus on illegal poaching of the protected species.

In May when he was at the centre of backlash when the RSPCA appointed him the charity’s new chief, with the move being branded ‘strange’ and ‘controversial’.

Packham also triggered controversy after branding government officials behind the badger cull ‘brutalist thugs, liars and frauds’ in a series of tweets.

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BBC bosses launched an investigation into the posts following a complaint by the Countryside Alliance which claimed they went against the corporation’s impartiality rules.

It found Packham breached a BBC voluntary code of conduct as the tweets were not politically neutral.

Packham earlier this year faced calls to be sacked after he urged his followers to join XR eco-zealots in a four-day protest outside Parliament . The nature lover asked his Twitter followers to attend the eco rally from April 21-24, in London, sparking furious backlash online.

After his tweet, the BBC stressed that ‘social media guidance for freelancers is ongoing’. But followers of Packham said the BBC Springwatch co-presenter should be ‘sacked’ and accused him of ‘using your celebrity platform to cause mayhem and disruption’.

Last September he came under the spotlight again when he was allowed to praise anti-hunt saboteurs because of a loophole which frees him from impartiality rules.

He had tweeted his support for those who had disrupted a grouse shooting party attended by former England cricketer Ian Botham.

He also recently praised two Just Stop Oil protesters who were jailed for scaling the Dartford Crossing Bridge in Kent – causing hours of traffic chaos for travellers – for their ‘enormous act of bravery’ and for ‘sacrificing their freedom’.

He also came under fire for urging his 577,000 Twitter followers to donate funds Novara Media, labelling the extreme left-wing news website a ‘breath of fresh air’.

‘Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break The Law?’ can be viewed tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.  

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