MORE than 200 members of the community gathered at the gates of Third Energy’s fracking site for a candle-lit vigil last night.

With shale gas extraction due to begin any time from now, a peaceful protest took place outside the energy company's KM8 well site just outside the small village of Kirby Misperton.

Campaigners from the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said in a statement the vigil marked a “shift in the campaign; from fighting through the traditional planning channels to peaceful protest and resistance.”

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Retired vicar Jackie Cray, from Kirby Misperton, opened with a prayer before the crowds sang songs and prayers from a range of traditions.

They included a song from the Tich Nhat Hanh Zen Buddhist tradition, whose monks and nuns recently visited the protesters' nearby camp to hold an activists’ retreat.

A teaching and song were also recited which had been shared by First Nation elders as part of last year’s Standing Rock protests in the US.

Bishop Graham Cray, Jackie Cray's husband, said: “Along with fellow residents from the village we were delighted to take part in last night's vigil outside KM8. It gives strength to our resolve to resist the threat which fracking poses not just to this community but to Ryedale as a whole.”

Leigh a protector from York said: “This evening’s been amazing, people came together to calmly reflect on our love for the land we strive to protect. An emotional moment, as this region is home to so many families and it has been years of hard work which have brought us to this point. We will continue to fight KM8 and all future fracking wells with dignity and determination.’’

Third Energy began moving lorries onto the site after the last of its planning conditions was signed off by North Yorkshire County Council this week.

The company intends to begin extracting shale gas once its fracking plan has been approved by the Environment Agency and Oil and Gas Authority.