Devon

Environmentalist Imogen May refuses to pay council tax

Imogen May
Image caption Imogen May has refused to pay council tax for two months as part of an environmental campaign

An environmental campaigner who has appeared in court over her refusal to pay council tax has said she is willing to go to prison for her cause.

Mother-of-two Imogen May told Exeter magistrates she was refusing to pay as an environmental protest.

She describes herself as a "conscientious Earth protector" and has withheld council tax from Mid Devon District Council since 1 April.

In court, the council said it would continue to try to obtain payment.

Ms May is a member of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which seeks to raise awareness of what it describes as a "climate emergency".

She told magistrates: "I'm here to tell the truth about climate change.

"We're facing the sixth mass extinction and we need to act now."

Image caption Ms May had support from other environmental campaigners at court

Fiona Wilkinson, who appeared in court for the council, said Ms May had "every right to her views" but was still liable to pay council tax.

Magistrates granted a liability order, meaning the council has the right to obtain payment and also ordered Ms May to pay £60 in costs.

Speaking outside the court, she said she was hoping to raise awareness of the need to invest taxpayer money on sustainable projects.

She said: "If we can all work together with the council we can create new jobs, new ways in which people can live with sustainability in mind.

"Councillors have shown us they do not understand the climate change emergency."

When asked how far she would go in her protest, she said: "If I have to eventually go to prison then I will do that.

"I'm more than happy to lay myself on the line because we need to wake up."

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