‘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.