Furious British farmers planning more tractor protests as they follow France’s lead | UK | News

February 15, 2024
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British farmers are planning further tractor protests after a series of similar demonstrations by their French counterparts.

Farmers are unhappy with post-Brexit trade deals which have led to low supermarket prices and cheap food imports, and now they are planning to repeat go-slow protests this weekend.

Protests have taken place in Wales and most recently last week causing traffic jams on roads close to the port of Dover.

Andrew Gibson, a farmer in Kent who has been centrally involved in organising previous actions, said more were to come in the coming days.

He told the Guardian: “We are definitely taking some action this weekend and we are calling on others to try to join us and to do their own thing as well. It needs to be a national effort because it’s not all about us; it’s about the industry as a whole.”

Several parts of Wales have seen protests, with one seeing farmers park tractors outside the constituency office of the rural affairs minister, Lesley Griffiths, while honking their horns at her.

Mr Gibson says the next protest will take place in Kent and “hopefully be bigger numbers and it will be tractors, and we will be trying to get better messaging out about what we are trying to achieve”.

He added: “The whole industry is on its knees, to be honest, the dairy boys, the arable boys, the whole industry. We are just getting clobbered by the supermarkets, by the government, by post-Brexit trade deals, by imports of cheap rubbish. We are getting it from everywhere.”

He thanked those who were already actively buying British to support farmers adding that he understood it was “not always easy” during the cost of living crisis.

Last month in France, farmers used tractors to stop traffic on eight main motorways into Paris in a row over regulations, pay and taxes.

Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales said her organisation shared the frustrations of farmers in mainland Europe.

She said: “We share European farmers’ concerns and frustration. Years of unsustainably high production costs and crop losses because of extreme weather are putting farming families under mounting pressure.

“But the British public have demonstrated invaluable support. In 2020, more than a million people signed the NFU’s petition to safeguard British food and farming standards which led to greater government scrutiny over trade deals. And, in 2023, nearly 50,000 signatures led to the prime minister hosting a food security summit.

“We do not take this support or its influence for granted, and it’s why protests or blockading public roads should always be a last resort.”



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