An action group set up to stop fracking in Wiltshire is prepared to do anything peaceful to stop land in the county being dug up.

Keep Wiltshire Frack Free held a meeting at The Bear Hotel, Devizes, on Wednesday to discuss lawful rebellion.

The group was started last year by Clive Humphries who lives on a canal boat which he moves between Devizes and Gt Bedwyn.

He said: “Under the new bidding round for licences the whole of Wiltshire is basically up for sale. We think the area most likely to be threatened is the north east of the county, possibly around Malmesbury.

“We will be keeping close tabs on information and if we hear anything which suggests fracking is likely in the county we will start by holding meetings to get local people involved.

“I have been involved in fracking camps in other parts of the country and I would not be afraid to set one up here. We would resist in a peaceful manner.”

But the Government says that the new bidding round for licences, announced last week and the first for six years, is stricter than before and anyone applying to frack near beauty spots will have additional obligations.

Fracking involves blasting water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale rock to release the gas and oil held inside.

Planning permission may be granted in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty if “it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest”.

Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, will have the right to overturn planning decisions, if they do not satisfy the government's criteria.

See Facebook page KWIFF.