MEMBERS of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) branch in Oswestry said the decision to place the national group on a terror list could reduce the public's estimation of their competence.

Home Secretary Priti Patel included the environmental group on an extremist list alongside neo-Nazi group Sonnenkrieg Division and Extreme Satanism.

XR was described in the list as an anti-establishment philosophy that seeks system change and a campaign which encourages law-breaking activities.

The movement was the focal point of many national news organisations during 2019, with protests in London and Manchester among many events to make headlines.

Police have since said the document will be recalled, however a member of the Oswestry XR branch fears more damage to the group's reputation may have been done despite the recall.

A spokesman for the Oswestry XR branch said: "Priti Patel has compounded the error of judgement already made by Prevent by making an error of her own.

"No-one doubts the importance of the work done by Prevent in confronting violent terrorism. But for them to have included Extinction Rebellion in their list of extreme ideologies places doubt over the credibility of the whole organisation, reducing the public’s estimation of their competence.

"For Priti Patel to have attempted to defend this mistake places a question mark over her own ability to assess the situation intelligently and to respond appropriately.

“She has now gone back on what she said and we’re no longer on the list, but because it’s hit the news, it makes people’s perception of XR completely different.

“Even though we’ve been removed from it, that’s still in people’s heads.”

The spokesman also said the movement has not been helped at times by the negative image painted of them by national media outlets.

They added: “I think the representation in the national media has been really poor. The coverage in the media throughout the London protests was awful.

“One of the demands of the government for XR is to tell the truth, but they can’t do that unless the media is behind them.

“There used to be public information programmes on television, encouraging people to save energy, turn lights off, don’t use so much water, share a bath – just little things everyone can be doing – but why on earth the media isn’t promoting that is beyond me.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes of Counter Terrorism Policing South-East told The Guardian: “I would like to make it quite clear that we do not classify Extinction Rebellion as an extremist organisation.

“The inclusion of Extinction Rebellion in this document was an error of judgment and we will now be reviewing all of the contents as a result."