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Farmers descend on Port of Dover in wave of protest

A group of protestors have said future protests will take place if market conditions remain to their disadvantage.

Farmers joined their European counterparts by bringing traffic to a crawl at a Kent port in protest over market conditions.

Numerous tractors have been spotted in and around the town
Numerous tractors have been spotted in and around the town
Tractors can be seen descending on Dover
Tractors can be seen descending on Dover

A tractor convoy arrived at the Port of Dover in a move designed to cause travel disruption on Friday evening.

Protestor Sadie Howland was part of the convoy and says she is disgusted by the way the government has treated her family, who have farmed for 100 years.

"Our produce gets exported out for low prices while unsafe produce is being imported in," she says.

The owner of SP Howland, who farms off Iffin Lane near Canterbury, added: "We also have livestock that we are unable to move due to blue tongue but apparently it’s ok to import contaminated animals into the country.

"The Ministry of Agriculture says we own our farms but it doesn't feel like it as they have put so many rules in place we can't do anything any more.

"Everything is costing farmers but we can't get rid of any animals or produce to make the money back.

"This is our livelihood.

"There 100% will be future action taken if things stay as they are.”

Sadie was pleased with the public's response to the protest, which came to an end at about 8pm.

"People were coming out of their houses and clapping and cheering. We wanted to highlight the issue and get the Government to listen to the problems."

Demonstrators gathered in various locations on roads outside Dover, with police officers gathered on standby at the docks.

Speaking from the scene, reporter Sam Lennon, said: “They arrived from along Townwall Street, they turned around at the eastern docks roundabout and back westward.

“The tractors were moving at a walking pace causing a massive queue behind. I could just hear the beeping of horns – I think a lot of those honks were out of support.”

A JCB arrives near Dover Eastern Dock
A JCB arrives near Dover Eastern Dock

Tractors continued to arrive in small groups, usually trios, throughout the evening and methodically turned from York Street to Townwall Street towards the Eastern Docks.

It is understood the Port of Dover experienced minimal disruption.

Earlier, police were called just after 5pm to a report of slow-moving vehicles in Jubilee Way. Officers remained at the scene until 8pm, when all the tractors left.

“Officers are in attendance and working with the Port of Dover Police on this matter,” a spokesperson said.

Farmers demonstrating in Dover
Farmers demonstrating in Dover
Police on standby at Dover Docks
Police on standby at Dover Docks

Farmer Jeffrey Gibson, from Wingham, Kent, posted on social media the protest was against cheap imports alongside the Government’s sustainable farming incentive (SFI) scheme.

“Time has come, enough is enough. Why are we as British farmers producing food to the highest standards in the world, only for the government to do trade deals with countries producing far cheaper food with little or no standards?

“As for the supermarkets selling British produce cheaper than the cost of production shame on you.”

The demonstration, understood to have been arranged by word of mouth, comes as Europe's farmers ramped up protests against EU measures and rising prices, with roads blocked reported in Belgium, Spain, Poland, Hungary.

Farmers on the continent have said they also face heavy regulation, powerful and domineering retailers, debt, climate change and cheap foreign imports.

Many argue the EU agricultural system is based on the premise mass production is cheaper and better.

While some of the most have been in France, similar action has been taking place in a host of countries including Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland, Greece, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.

In Kent, traffic in and out of the Dover was disrupted by the go-slow demonstration, which involved tractors driving in small groups, causing delays.

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