‘Super dairy’ forced to withdraw plans
NOCTON Dairies has withdrawn its planning application for an 8,100 cow dairy farm in Lincolnshire.
The move comes after North Kesteven District Council asked the applicants to address some of the environmental concerns raised during the planning application.
Despite the setback, Nocton Dairies said its plans were not dead in the water and it is now hoping to submit a new application for the development later this year.
The group’s farm business consultant Graeme Surtees said: “There’s a couple of issues the Council has asked us to resolve in terms of smell from the development and we have got to provide a model for them to work from.
“The Environment Agency has also asked for more information on slurry management at the site.”
Mr Surtees said the withdrawal was not a response to the strong opposition voiced by welfare campaigners, but was simply a case of the group needing to provide more detailed information to the Council’s planning committee.
The plans for the ‘super dairy’ – which would have been the largest of its kind in Europe – have sparked a fierce debate in recent months as welfare campaigners raised serious concerns over what they called ‘factory farmed milk’.
Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva!) led the campaign against the plans, gathering support through the national media as well as social networking site Facebook which saw some 4,000 people demonstrate their opposition.
Viva! had also planned to hold a large scale peaceful protest at the proposed site at Nocton, and while its plans are now on hold it said it would continue to oppose the development when the plans are resubmitted.
Campaigns manager at Viva!, Justin Kerswell said: “We expect to see the application come back again and we will maintain the campaigns against this development because it is not going to go away.
“We look forward to seeing what Nocton Dairies comes back with, but we remain completely opposed to this development and we look forward to round two.”
The campaigns against the plans had initially been run on the basis of animal welfare, but recent moves to switch the focus to the proposed development’s environmental impact appear to have struck a chord with local residents.
Viva has now been in contact with environmental lawyers in the US, where strict laws are in place to prevent the building of intensive farm units near rural areas, and Mr Kerswell said it was vital similar rules are now put in place in the UK.
He said the decision on Nocton Dairies was a ‘watershed moment’ and could provide a blueprint for future regulation on large scale farming operations in the UK.