TENSIONS flared at Bentley on Friday over the blockading by protesters of a secondary entrance to the property where Metgasco plans to drill the Rosella well.

On Thursday night protesters blockaded a farm gate opposite the corner of Bentley Rd and Naughtons Gap Rd with two concreted 40-gallon drums and a welded metal frame.

This action was against Lock the Gate's policy that the blockade would not interfere with farming activities, according to Uralba resident Ian Paxton.

Mr Paxton, who said he was a supporter of Metgasco's activities and a Metgasco shareholder, approached the protesters' camp to discuss his concerns.

A fiery debate ensued, with Mr Paxton taking issue over the "bullying" of the Graham family who own the land, with another protester declaring they had "forfeited their rights".

Later, a Richmond Valley Council ranger visited the gate opposite Naughtons Gap Rd and requested protesters there to clear access.

With protesters at first refusing to move, the situation became tense, and police arrived at the scene.

But the mini-blockade was averted when the small crowd eventually agreed to clear the entrance, allowing council workers to remove the structures.

It is understood that Metgasco has no permission to do any roadworks at that gate as it is unsuitable for heavy vehicles.



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