‘Unprecedented’ response to Nocton Dairies plan

OVER 14,000 people have formally objected to Nocton Dairies’ plans to build a ‘super dairy’ in Lincolnshire.

The four week consultation on the planning application for a 3,770-cow unit near the villages of Nocton and Dunston closed on Tuesday.

North Kesteven District Council said that 1,600 representations had already been entered on to its planning website by the Tuesday deadline. But there were also an astonishing 13,000 applications received in recent days still awaiting processing.

“There have been an unprecedented number of representations made,” a NKDC spokesman said.

All but a handful of the representations have voiced opposition to the controversial plans, citing a mixture of ethical reasons, particularly regarding animal welfare, and concerns about its impact on the local environment and local residents.

Parish councils of various local villages, including Nocton, Potterhanworth and Dunston have all objected.

Ncoton Parish Council said it was ‘firmly and unequivocally opposed’ to the  proposed unit and wished to object ‘in the strongest possible terms’. It urged NKDC’s planning committee to ‘reject this unwarranted and wholly unacceptable ‘experiment’ in farming practice and thus protect the future viability and well-being of Nocton and the surrounding countryside’.

Various environmental and animal welfare organisations and campaign groups have also objected. Campaign group 38 Degrees handed in a petition on Tuesday with over 50,000 signatures opposing the development to the council. By Thursday nearly 75,000 people had signed the online petition.

The Soil Association has objected, as have groups like Compassion in World Farming, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Food and Water Europe, which campaigns for ‘clean water and safe food’.

Lincolnshire MP Stephen Phillips told NKDC that the ‘overwhelming view’ of his constituents is that they want planning permission to be denied. Mr Phillips presented a 10-Minute Rule Bill on ‘Dairy Farming’ to the House of Commons on Wednesday stating his concerns over ‘intensive dairy farming operations’.

Units like that proposed by Nocton dairies ‘give rise to real concerns for animal welfare, and there is real opposition in respect of their effect on local residents’, he told MPs.

Deborah Wilson, a spokesperson for local protest group CAFFO said it was ‘great news so many people from across the UK are standing behind our campaign to stop this US style mega dairy’.

Nocton Dairies’ directors, who have referred a leaflet distributed by CAFFO to 5,000 local residents to the Advertising Standards Authority, have responded to the growing wave of opposition by warning of the ‘misinformation and scaremongering’ coming from those opposing the plan.

A Nocton Dairies spokeswoman said the company had confidence in the ability of the council’s planning team to ‘weigh up both application and comments on accuracy and validity’.

“However people want to portray it, this is simply a farm, albeit bigger than we are used to. Opposition groups use the term ‘CAFO’ but this just relates to size and we already have at least 14 dairy farms of ‘CAFO’ size in England operating with similar management and no issues; most of these supply supermarkets,” she said.

NKDC said a specially convened Planning Committee meeting to consider the application had been provisionally set for early March.

Readers' comments (17)

  • Obtaining milk in this way will shame Britain and put cheapness before responsible farming methods. Moreover, it will be a disaster for local people and the Brithish countryside

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  • This will be a blight on the reputation of our country as a champion of animal rights. Just as we are getting rid of chicken batteries, it seems inconceivable that we would even consider this, a move driven solely by the rule of the profit margin. No business that uses Nocton milk will have my custom.

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  • It seems that small minded left winders are still given the right to control our industrie... Do you not understand the real presure of the food and energy shortage? We need to be able to feed our population that means more and more land will over time have to be taken away from livestock and turned to arable especially if we are also going to produce energy crops such as oil seed rape.

    Over the next 10 years it will be simply too expensive to import food due to the decreeasing oil reserve and we dont have enough land to feed our ever growing population which will only become even more of a problem if Scottland gain independence!

    Just because it is a large scale dairy opperation doesent mean anything as far as animal wealfare is concerned. Infact cows welfare can probably be better catered for by all year round housing. Also are we forgetting that the magority of intensive milk production already works on the basis of keeping high yeilding cow inside.

    I dont see any moral or scientific argument that can be used against this idea of modernising the industry which I tell you the UK is years behinde in. The short sight of people who protest this move can only be put down to having no real idea of the modernisation of the world or jelousy.

    Why cant the UK be at the fore front of hight animal welfare in the intensive dairy industry? Why cant we be the ones that the europians look at to build there business on? It seems the UK is constantly loosing its power and influence to so called do gooders and those who still think its 1950!

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  • I am sick to death of people bleating on about food shortages as an excuse for the building of this 'experiment'. Yes in many parts of the world there genuinely are food shortges. But here in Britain and is this development really the answer to address those concerns? Please!! You only have to look at the obscene amount of food that the supermarkets throw away to realise that there are no food shortages in this country - or there shouldn't be! I am sure if we are all being honest, our own bins hold food at the end of the week that we didn't eat. This 'experiment' is not about releaving food shortages, It is about profit pure and simple. I think people in the surrounding villages who have read the proposed plans in detail, have listened to both sides of the argument, have spoken to representatives from the county planning office are in a better position to decide whether they think this is right for their community.

    I am also fed up with supporters of this dairy implying or directly stating on websites (I notice a flurry of pro-dairy supporters have miraculously apeared in the last few days) that the people opposed to this are, for example, middle class, ignorant, affluent, jealous individuals (to sum up a few comments I've read over the last year) who sign petitions because it's on line but haven't really thought about what they are signing, don't understand a thing about dairy farming, are lucky enough to afford organic milk and selfishly ignore that fact that this 'experiment' can releave world shortages.

    The people I know who are opposed to this development are intelligent, rational, fair, caring and concerned individuals whose opposition has come about after months of weighing up the pros and cons. Their socail status and educational background should never be mocked or derided. This is still a democratic country and it doesn't matter who you are, everyone has the right to express an opinion. I am proud of the fact that many people I know came to their own decision based on the evidence before them and without the help of a PR guru.

    Finally, it people are criticising us for not wanting it in our own back yard, you also in the same breath should criticise those farmers who are happy to allow the slurry to be spread on their fields. I am sure 'food shortages' and 'helping the dairy industry survive' is not foremost in their minds! Or if it is, most of them have not had the courage to speak out publically and offer their support to the development.

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  • Thousands signed a fake info petition, which mislead them. Millions want it.

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  • Really? can you tell me where these millions protesting for it actually are because over the last year they have been rather quiet in their defence of this development? As I said - it's a democratic country so come on all you who want this 'experiment' - stand up for it!. At least thousands of us have actually done something about opposing it - what have the alleged 'millions' who want it done?

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  • Sue, you misunderstood me
    Millions and it will be millions will vote with their wallets and buy the best value milk they can get. I do not have a problem with the dairy if the planners are happ with the regs and the welfare of the cows is looked after. But it is not possible to argue with the fact that milllions of people in this country want cheap food. No matter what we say about organic this etc, they want it and they get it.

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  • 1. We are not short of food in this country - my GP assures me that there is a problem with obesity in the UK, not starvation! 2. Huge amounts of food is wasted - by supermarkets, by us, by everyone. 3. I object to this proposed industrial unit - after discussing with NFU members, dairy farmers, vets, etc - so cannot be accused of being uniformed or ignorant of the facts!

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  • Sue you have basicaly filled the quota of the steriotype that is being protrayed of those anti large scale dairy!

    The food shortage currently may not seem a problem but in 10 years time it will simply be too expensive to import food by sea, air and rail because the oil shortage is a very real CURRENT problem and it is only getting worse very quickly!

    Also to say it is an experiment is a very ignorent comment to make this type of dairying has been going on for the last 20 years over europe and even longer in the USA and it has been done offering welfare standards way beyonde what are the average here in the UK.

    Having travelled to Holland and Germany I have seen large scale units ranging from 500 cows to 8000 cows and they were offering standards of living that I could only dream of being able to provide our livestock with.

    They have better facilities that are better maintained more staff with dedicated positions that are able to cater to every need of the annimals which is something we in the UK cannot afford to do because we simply dont have the money on a smaler scale.

    Put your head in the sand all you want but fuel is running out and as a result so will imported food meaning we will have to be alot more economic with what little space we have to feed our ever growing population. This will be the future weather you like it or not unless we drastically change our consumer trends.

    If you are interested I can probably find you the facts stating how much fuel we have and how much of our population we can feed with our current production trends... It is staggering and actually very concerning from a farmers point of view. But I am trying now to impliment necessary changes to our farming opperations to ensure our business stands the test of times to come and I activly encourage any outher farmer/ producer to do so as well.

    I also would like to bet the vast amount of food being thrown away by super market is imported and I garauntee you that the farm shop we supply does not throw anything away.

    I really do feel for those who still can not accept that things need to change and before it is too late I also fear that without direction and help from the goverment on all levels that people will still be ignorent to the problem until food is literally being auctioned off to the highest bidder, so Sue good luck to you during the changing times as it will be the middle class like you who will make people like me very ritch when the demand for food gets out of hand.

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  • I think Tom does not quite comprehend the situation in Nocton. The farm would be far too close to our villages, the risks of pollution of our water are far too high, the types of vehicles and the increase in traffic would generate yet more fatalities on an already very dangerous road .... One cannot just allow this type of farming anywhere.

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