ANTI-FRACKING protesters from Middlesbrough marched across 33-miles of moorland to meet up with their counterparts in Ryedale at the weekend, where a solidarity tea party was held.

Members of Frack Free Middlesbrough hiked across the North York Moors from the town on Saturday, to show support for local residents opposed to plans to extract shale gas near Kirby Misperton.

Third Energy was granted permission to frack at an existing well by members of North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee in May, making it the UK’s first fracking site since 2011.

The plans received 4,375 formally recognised letters of objection to the Ryedale fracking application and 36 letters of support.

The council voted by seven votes to four to allow permission for the operation, which will see a test phase of six to eight weeks at the energy company’s KM-8 well to explore the gas field. If the site is found suitable, gas extraction will begin using hydraulic fracturing.

The walkers arrived in Ryedale during the evening, when they were welcomed with tea and cakes made by Yorkshire Nanas Against Fracking and met with members of Frack Free Ryedale and Frack Free Kirby Misperton at the village of Little Barugh.

The protesters then walked together down to the well site at Kirby Misperton, where they held a flower ceremony and laid a wreath of flowers by the boundary fence.

Sue Gough, a local artist and resident of Little Barugh had organised a solidarity tea party at her home earlier in the afternoon for local protesters, before welcoming the protesters from Teesside later in the evening.

She said: “The walkers arrived at about 8pm and we walked down to the well site at Kirby Misperton for a flower-laying ceremony, before going back to the house for a lovely vegetable curry to end the day.”

A larger march is planned by Frack Free York for protesters from across the region and UK on July 30, when people will gather at Clifford’s Tower in York at 12-noon for a peaceful demonstration in the city.

Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale said: “This walk is just one of an ongoing series of events to build support for the campaign to ban fracking here and elsewhere."