NFU President Peter Kendall.

NFU President Peter Kendall

NFU (National Farmers Union) president Peter Kendall has ruled out a high-profile protest against rising fuel prices, saying it would be counter-productive.

“We are not going to get any public sympathy or support if farmers are seen to be holding up motorway traffic with their tractors,” he said.

He stressed that rising fuel costs were a major concern for farmers and the NFU was taking the subject very seriously.

“As Boris Johnson said this week, there is something wrong when it costs more to fill up your car than fly to Spain. Farmers are not the only ones to be affected by rising fuel prices and it makes sense for us to work together with other organisations.”

He added that high road and heating fuel costs hit rural dwellers hard, particularly the very poor, while the impact on inflation was also significant.

Mr Kendall said the NFU had already held discussions with the Food and Drink Federation on a joint-approach to highlighting the danger of rising fuel costs and would be holding talks with the freight and haulage associations.

The NFU’s policy of negotiation will put it at odds with organisations such as Farmers for Action which recently called for direct fuel protests.

FFA was formed in 2000 in response to higher fuel prices and low milk prices. Fuel protests then brought refineries and depots to a standstill.

“Things are very different now than in 2000,” said Mr Kendall. “The public are hit just as hard by fuel price rises and will not take kindly to having their daily lives disrupted at a time of economic uncertainty.”