Farm Ireland

Friday 21 October 2016

WATCH: This farmer use a load of slurry to kick protesters off his farm...including actress Emma Thompson

Emily Gosden

Published 29/04/2016 | 12:41

An angry farmer attempted to spray Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson with manure on Wednesday after she broke a court injunction to stage a protest against fracking on his land.

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Ms Thompson and her sister Sophie entered a field on the Lancashire farm, where energy company Cuadrilla is planning to frack for shale gas, and baked renewable energy-themed cakes in a Greenpeace-backed protest stunt.

An injunction has been in place banning protesters from the land near Preston since 2014.

The farmer, who was said to be "very upset" about being prevented from getting on with work in the field, proceeded to drive a muck-spreader around the protesters, narrowly missing the Thompson sisters and their cakes.

Emma Thompson said she was staging the so-called "Frack Free Bake Off" in order to "show the government that we will not allow fracking to scar our countryside and fuel yet more climate change".

"What better way to do that, here in Britain, than hold a Bake Off?," she asked.

Local cake shop owner Kate Styles, who took part in the stunt, dismissed the farmer's retaliation. "The stink was temporary - unlike the impact of fracking on this community if Cuadrilla get their way," she said.

Cuadrilla said it was reviewing whether to take action over the injunction breach.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla chief executive, said: "Celebrities from London trespassing on a  Lancashire farmers land, preventing him from working whilst lecturing us on where the UK should get our natural gas from is beyond ridiculous.”

The company's application to frack at the site was thrown out by local councillors last year and an appeal has been 'called in' to be decided upon by the Government.

Officers from Lancashire Police attended the site and spoke to the Thompson sisters but took no action and made no arrests.

Ken Cronin, UKOOG chief executive, suggested the protest was hypocritical because Sophie Thompson, who is known for her appearance on Celebrity Masterchef, uses gas stoves.

"It is ironic that a celebrity, who uses gas stoves in videos to promote her own cook books, and her sister, who described Britain as ‘a cake-filled misery-laden grey old island’, should want to attempt to hijack the UK’s love of baking for an ill-conceived publicity stunt," he said.

A police spokesman said: "We were this morning made aware of a protest on land at Plumpton Hall Farm at Little Plumpton.

 "A local neighbourhood patrol attended and spoke to a representative of the protestors to establish their intentions.

 "It was not felt necessary or proportionate to maintain a police presence at the site but resources are available to attend again if necessary."


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