Protesters arrested for climbing water towers at a power station have been told to "clear off back down south" by the local Labour MP, who questioned their environmental credentials because they did not walk, but drove to West Burton in order to hold their protest.
Climate change protesters climbed two cooling towers at the power station in MP John Mann's Bassetlaw constituency, chaining themselves to the towers to prevent completion of a new gas turbine power station.
Mann said he want to tell the protesters "to clear off and get back down south.
"They are obviously people with a lot of time on their hands and they are not from this area.
"If they really practiced what they preached they would have walked to the plant.
"The local community have warmly welcomed the gas turbine development and it is the voice of these local people that count.”
He said policing the protest would cost the taxpayer over a quarter million pounds “that could have been spent on positive environmental initiatives such as solar panels and ground source heating for pensioner bungalows.
"Instead this money is being wasted on pseudo-environmentalists who would have had to drive to the site in their cars.
"I understand them to be self-indulgent city dwellers from Leeds and Manchester who will find life pretty tough hanging off the side of a chimney especially because we had snow in the area over the weekend.
"I welcome the move to gas production by EDF at West Burton and repeat my call to them to use the huge pool of natural gas that’s underneath the nearby town of Gainsborough”.
The No Dash For Gas protesters who made it to the top of the towers tweeted pictures of the view.
Five of the protesters, all women from either Manchester or Leeds, were arrested as the group made their way into the site at around 1.20am, a police spokesman said.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Broadbent said: "People have the right to protest, but not when it prevents, or restricts the rights of, others from going about their lawful business.
"There are 101 ways to protest lawfully. Breaking into someone else's property is not one of them.
"Those involved in planning and participating in this illegal action can expect to be arrested."
Representatives from the group said said 17 people had scaled the chimneys, shutting down the gas-fired power station.
Activist Ewa Jasiewicz, a regular journalist for the Guardian newspaper, said in a statement on behalf of the group: "A new dash for gas will leave the UK utterly reliant on this dirty expensive fuel for decades to come.
"Our energy system is being run by a cartel of corporations that has this government in its pocket. As long as we have an economic system driven by profit, we will have an energy system that ignores the needs of those suffering most from climate change and rising energy bills.
"With a quarter of the UK’s outdated energy infrastructure needing to be replaced, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in renewables that could generate hundreds of thousands of jobs, radically cut emissions of carbon dioxide and stabilise energy bills.
"Clean green technology is already powering thousands of homes across the UK, and enjoys overwhelming public support.”
Their mission statement reads: "The new ‘dash for gas’ will leave us dependent on a highly polluting and increasingly expensive fossil fuel for decades to come.
"It would make even our modest carbon reduction targets impossible to hit, and cause household energy bills to soar even further. While energy companies profit, our chances of a secure and sustainable future are slipping away.
"This action is therefore in defence of the global commons, which are under sustained attack by polluting fossil fuel companies.
"We are here to challenge corporate power and the rush to further ingrain an energy system that puts short term profits of the few, above the collective needs of the many."
A worker at the site, who did not want to be named, said all but essential staff had been sent home for the day.
He said: "They're still building the gas site. It's nearly up and running. It's being tested."
Steve Pryle, from the GMB union, said: "All our members have been sent home.
"We were told approximately 200 of our members have been sent home."
He said he had been told there were 26 protesters on site.
"What we want to know is how on earth these guys got on site.
"It's a secure site and there is supposed to be tight security to protect the site against attacks and terrorism."
Ministers insist that continuing use of gas without technology to trap and permanently store carbon emissions is compatible with targets to cut greenhouse gases to tackle climate change.
But Friends of the Earth's head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said: "This morning's protest sends a powerful message that a new dash for gas is wrong - gas is the main reason our fuel bills have been rocketing, and staying hooked on it will cost us a fortune.
"The Government talks the talk on a greener economy, but its plans for 20GW of new gas plants far exceeds what's needed as we switch to renewable energy, and could easily bust our targets for tackling climate change.
"Rather than tying us into decades of dirty and increasingly costly gas, the Coalition should be making clean British energy and energy saving the powerhouse of our economy - creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs."
A spokeswoman for EDF confirmed that only essential staff were leaving and entering the site while the protest continued.
In a statement she said: "The station is in a commissioning phase at the moment and the first unit is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.
"While the protest is ongoing, only essential staff are leaving and entering the plant."
She said the protest would not affect supplies to energy users in the area or to the national grid.
"Generation at the adjacent coal station is unaffected," she added.
In a statement, EDF said: "We support the right to peaceful protest. However, any unlawful action is of serious concern and puts at risk the safety of the individuals involved.
"Our site management and security teams have taken the appropriate action in protecting the safety of the public, personnel and plant.
"EDF Energy is committed to a low-carbon future through new generation and increased energy efficiency."