Farmers were urged at a rally in North Yorkshire this morning to deny fracking companies access to their land.
Sheep farmer, Matthew Trevelyan, told anti-fracking campaigners outside Third Energy’s shale gas site at Kirby Misperton:
“As farmers and growers, we are the guardians of this land and it is up to us to put a stop to this industry.
“Only us can not give the access to the frackers on our land.”
About 100 people gathered for the Farmers Against Fracking event at the gate to the KM8 site.
Many carried placards with the messages “Farmers are eternal optimists. We hope Third Energy Frack Off! and “Farmers Feed the World. Frackers Destroy it”. A small convoy of tractors drove to the site from the neighbouring village of Great Barugh and blocked the entrance for about 30 minutes.
Mr Trevelyan, who farms on the North Yorks Moors, told the gathering:
“Fracking is not just an environmental issue. It’s a livestock issue, it’s a food issue and it’s a livelihood issue.
“We live in the middle of a celebrated food producing area. Malton says it’s the food capital of Yorkshire and that’s quite right. If contamination or pollution were to occur from fracking-related activities then all this could be put at risk.”
He said the international legacy of fracking had been “permanent contamination of fertile land and critical water supplies”. He added:
“For farmers, there is potentially a lot of lose and very little to gain from fracking.”
He said the farming lobby, when it mobilised, was “hugely powerful”. It had helped to secure a ban on fracking in Ireland and in shutting down the industry in parts of Australia, he said.
Mr Trevelyan added:
“Resistance to the fracking industry is uniting people from across the political spectrum.
“Being worried about fracking is not an extreme position. It is the position of every political party except the Tories, and the position of several countries, including Wales, Scotland and Ireland.”
Deliveries resumed to the KM8 site today, after a blockade by campaigners yesterday. North Yorkshire Police said two women, aged 56 and 66, were arrested at lunchtime and have been charged with obstructing the highway. They are due to appear at York Magistrates Court in November.