April Fools’ Day was re-named ‘Fossil Fools’ Day’ when anti-fracking campaigners staged a protest at the Springs Road site in Misson on Monday.
Two protesters locked themselves to a concrete barrel construction, and a grandmother of five was among several arrests at the demonstration.
The event was organised by the anti-fracking organisation, FrAcktion, and was attended by more than 50 protesters.
It was part of a Frack Free Festival, featuring music and workshops, held over the weekend at the site, where energy company, IGas, has been drilling for shale gas since January.
Faye O’Donoghue, of FrAcktion, said: “Fracking is environmentally devastating, and also ruptures local communities, who do not want it on their doorstep.
“We are determined to fight this undemocratic industry. With people power, we are seeing the tide turn.”
Protesters claim fracking would sabotage local water supplies. Ruth Smart said: “It might be April Fools’ Day, but the joke is on the fossil fuels companies.
“Fracking wastes huge amounts of water. Recent reports have shown that, in just 25 years, England would not have enough water to meet demand.”
The police report that four people have been charged with wilful obstruction of a highway and will appear in court soon. They are two women, aged 68 and 48, from Sheffield, a 28-year-old woman from Dronfield and a 50-year-old man from Durham.
A spokeswoman for IGas said that drilling at the Springs Road site had been completed a few days before Monday’s protest.
She added: “The next step is that the samples of rock that were drawn from the well will be sent away for analysis.”
A statement issued by IGas read: “Drilling of the well has been completed safely and environmentally responsibly. We have worked closely with our regulators and the local authority to operate within our planning conditions and environmental permits.”
The firm’s chief executive officer, Stephen Bowler, said: “We have a responsibility to work in partnership with the communities in which we operate. We aspire to be a good neighbour by respecting the people we impact and being sensitive to their needs.”