Dover farmer protests organiser says action could escalate

1 week ago 21

Tractors driving along a road in DoverImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

Jeff Gibson said current trade restrictions were "utterly soul-destroying"

By Daniel Sexton

BBC News, South East

The organiser of a protest which brought more than 30 tractors to Dover on Friday night says further action "cannot be ruled out".

Jeff Gibson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that widespread anger felt by UK farmers meant it could "very easily escalate".

He said trade deals agreed since Brexit had created an "utterly soul-destroying" situation.

The government said it was looking at how to improve supply chain fairness.

It said agriculture had been at the "forefront" of negotiated deals since the UK left the EU and its £2.4bn annual farming budget was providing support to the industry.

Mr Gibson, from Yew Tree Farm in Wingham, Kent, said: "It seems harder to export goods out of the UK but importing goods in does not seem to have changed.

"What is making foreign food cheaper is lower levels of production costs and sustainability."

He said protests by farmers in Europe had "shown us what can be accomplished and hopefully the government start taking notice".

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

More than 30 tractors joined the protest in Dover

Mr Gibson said: "UK farmers are good at talking in the pubs and keeping quiet and complaining about how bad things are but we don't take action like European farmers.

"It has now got to a point where voices need to be heard."

Police said Jubilee Way had been cleared by 20:00 GMT, three hours after the protest began.

Image source, Jeffrey Gibson

Image caption,

Jeffrey Gibson posted a picture of his brother's tractor and trailer holding wooden crates painted with the message: "No more cheap imports"

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said: "We firmly back our farmers.

"British farming is at the heart of British trade, and we put agriculture at the forefront of any deals we negotiate, prioritising new export opportunities and protecting UK food standards.

"We are looking at ways to improve fairness and support British farmers and growers, as well as ensuring customers have access to high-quality fresh British products."

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