‘Super dairy’ planners scale back ambitions in new application
Nocton Dairies put its plan to build the largest dairy farm in Britain on hold in April this year after planning authorities raised concerns about slurry management and the smell at the site in Lincolnshire.
The two farmers behind the plan, David Barnes from Lancashire and Peter Willes from Devon, have now returned with a new scaled back planning application.
Reduced cow numbers
The original proposal was for a farm of 8,100 cows whereas the latest application is for 3,770 cows. The reduction in the cow numbers is accompanied by other measures designed to address the environmental concerns raised from the first proposal and to allay fears about animal welfare.
The original application was met by a barrage of criticism in the media from campaign groups such as Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA). Much of this focused on animal welfare issues likening the proposed dairy to a battery farm for cows.
Nocton Dairies has responded by laying out changes to the plans that will give the cows more space.
It said the accommodation – in line with industry best practice - will now include 5 per cent more ‘loose stall’ beds than there are animals. In addition, the farmers said: “As before, cows will be free to eat, drink, rest and socialise when they like, but will now also be able to access outdoor loafing paddocks in the summer months, weather permitting.”
But despite the changes, campaigners have wasted little time in expressing their disapproval of the revised plans. For example, Soil Association, which represents the UK organic food industry, has attacked the positive environmental claims put forward by the farmers.
Nocton Dairies claims that the predicted carbon footprint of milk from the ‘super dairy’ on supermarket shelves is likely to be two thirds the average in Western Europe. But citing feed requirements, synthetic nitrogen use and methane output, Soil Association said this week that new research from the Organic Center in the US indicates that American-style super dairies are actually worse for the environment than organic farms.
Supporters and detractors of the plan will have some wait before a decision is made on the new plans. Once the application has been validated it will enter a consultation period of around 13 to 14 weeks before a decision is reached.
Posted by Dr.ELANGOVAN UDAYAR,