News that Nocton Dairies' pipeline and reservoir applications were both refused by North Kesteven District Council has dealt a final blow to plans for a mega-dairy in Lincolnshire.
Compassion in World Farming celebrated, cautiously, on February 16 when the proprietors of Nocton Dairies voluntarily withdrew their application for a 3,700 cow mega-dairy at Nocton, Lincolnshire.
The official reason given for the withdrawal was the Environment Agency's comprehensive objection to the plans, although Compassion believes the strength of public opposition couldn't have failed to have weighed heavily on the decision makers' minds.
This news was followed swiftly by a statement from North Kesteven District Council that it had planned to reject the dairy anyway on six grounds:
- The failure of the applicant to fully assess alternative development sites which presented fewer environmental risks
- The unacceptable and significant risk to groundwater quality, including the nearby public water supply
- Significant uncertainties regarding the impacts and control of odour from the operation of the dairy, and associated land spreading, and its effects on residential amenity
- Insufficient detail regarding the frequency, volume and duration of operational noise, including from animals, and its effects on residential amenity
- Probable negative and adverse impacts to Bardney Limewoods Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a series of Local Wildlife Sites from increased ammonia and nitrogen deposition
- Insufficient justification for the construction of on-site agricultural workers houses.
Compassion's successful Cows Belong in Fields campaign against the dairy encompassed animal welfare and environment issues and we were pleased to see that points 2 to 5 above were ones that we had raised with the local council in our own objection.
Compassion also made specific objections to the proposed pipeline and reservoir that the dairy required in order to be fully functional, which were the subject of separate planning applications.
These applications remained 'live' even after the main application was withdrawn, potentially leaving the door open for another attempt to erect a mega-dairy in the area - hence our 'cautious' celebration on February 16.
Now that the Council has rejected both these applications we can be sure that Nocton Dairies' plans have been knocked on the head in Lincolnshire, and the celebrations can begin in earnest.
In related news, Nocton Dairies' proprietor, Peter Willes, who owns a large dairy in Devonshire and produces the Parkham Farm Cheese brand, is due to appear at Barnstaple Magistrates Court in April. Charges were brought against him by the Environment Agency in February 2010 relating to alleged incidents at Willes' Beckland Farm, Hartland, in Devon.
Willes is accused of "depositing, knowingly causing or knowingly permitting the deposit of controlled waste, including veterinary materials, plastics, fridges, tyres, and light bulbs, on land not covered by an environmental permit".
He faces two further charges of water pollution involving slurry, milk and silage effluent.