RCMP monitored the anti-fracking protest Thursday. (CBC)

Shale gas protests and test site vandalism have resumed in New Brunswick, this time in and around Fredericton.

But Premier David Alward maintains there won't be a referendum on shale gas exploration in the province.

About 40 protesters stood across English Settlement Road in Taymouth, north of Fredericton, Thursday and slowed down vehicles Southwestern Resources Canada uses for shale gas exploration.

But SWN officials said they could not do any seismic testing anyway because someone had cut cords on geophone equipment overnight.

Meanwhile, about 30 people were back on the steps of the Centennial Building, the government's main office building in Fredericton, Thursday.

The protesters in Taymouth held signs and told CBC News they were trying to slow down the trucks and prevent the company from doing work related to hydro-fracking.

Hydro-fracking uses water mixed with chemicals and sand and allows companies to access natural gas deposits. However, the protesters are concerned the process will ruin the water supply

There was a strong RCMP presence at the protest. After three-way talks, the protesters agreed to stand aside and let the trucks drive away.

Chanting "Don't come back," some protesters got into their own vehicles and escorted the SWN trucks out of the area.

Vow to protest every Thursday

About 50 protesters blocked a road just north of Stanley earlier this month. There were reports of vandalism in Cumberland Bay.

The protest in Fredericton Thursday was smaller than last week's, but the group's message was the same, and they vowed to return every Thursday until the matter is resolved.

"Until the government is saying 'No,' I mean ... it all depends on us people. You have to come out, you have to come out to join in here," said Taymouth resident Julia Link.

Premier David Alward was just a couple of blocks away at a changing of the guard ceremony and later met with protesters.

Alward has said he's not shifting his government's position on shale gas exploration and there won't be any ban, despite the apparent mounting opposition.

On Thursday, he maintained his government is taking environmental concerns seriously.

"I believe we can find the balance between ensuring environmental sustainability, community sustainability, economic and social sustainability, prosperity, and that is what we are working towards," he told reporters.

Alward quickly dismissed recent talk about a shale gas referendum.

"The largest referendum that any government can have is an election," he said. "We clearly ran on that mandate, it was part of our platform, that is the referendum from the people of New Brunswick."

One of Alward's PC MLAs raised the idea of a referendum at a public meeting in June — and suggested it to the premier Wednesday night.

On Aug. 11, about 60 protestors crowded into the lobby of the Centennial Building, demanding to speak with Alward, but he wasn't there, so Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup gave them 15 minutes to express their frustration.