FARMERS have today joined the protests against a fracking operation in North Yorkshire.

Farmers Against Fracking stationed themselves outside the gates of Third Energy’s fracking well outside Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

Three tractors drove from the neighbouring village of Great Barugh and then drove to the site along Habton Road, where more than 100 protesters, including a number with Farmers Against Fracking, held a rally.

The Northern Echo:

One of the organisers was Matthew Trevelyan, a sheep farmer on the North York Moors.

He said fracking posed a risk to agriculture, claiming there was a risk of potential pollution to underground water supplies on farmland and the chance of land contamination.  

He told the crowd: “Fracking isn’t just an environmental issue - it’s a livestock issue. It’s a food issue. It’s a livelihood issue.”

A spokesperson for Third Energy said: “The Planning Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, the Environment Agency and the Health & Safety Executive have robust procedures in place to ensure that all these points have been addressed.

"Third Energy has been rigorous in its approach to completing its planning application and is confident that it has prepared for its upcoming hydraulic fracturing operations.

"Third Energy fully respects people’s right to lawful and peaceful protest.

"We trust that those who object to our plans will also respect our rights, and the rights of Ryedale residents, to go about our business lawfully and peacefully.

"Last time we checked three small tractors do not represent the views of farmers in North Yorkshire.”

Six people were arrested at the entrance to the hydraulic fracturing site yesterday.

The Northern Echo:

They included a 61-year-old man, who was released with no further action and a 56-year-old who was charged with obstructing a police constable.

Four women, aged 35, 36, 54, who referred to themselves as Bat Girls and locked their arms into barrels of concrete were charged with wilfully obstructing a highway and besetting a place to compel the abstention of a lawful act.

The obscure law was made an offence under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992.