Lincolnshire

Farmers say Lincolnshire 'super dairy' reflects future

Milk churns
Image caption The NFU accused some campaigners of trying to preserve their idea of a "rural idyll"

Farmers groups have said they are disappointed plans for a giant dairy in Lincolnshire have been withdrawn.

Nocton Dairies Ltd wanted to house 3,770 cows near Lincoln but faced widespread opposition.

Concerns were raised about animal welfare but environmental objections were blamed for the withdrawal.

The National Farmers' Union and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers warned British farming had to develop if it was to feed the nation.

Nocton Dairies Ltd had originally wanted to house about 8,000 animals on the site but halved the number after pressure from welfare, environmental and local groups.

But the Environment Agency said it still had concerns about the effect the dairy may have on ground water quality.

North Kesteven District Council confirmed it was planning to refuse the application, and refer it to the government.

David Cotton, from The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, said: "I am disappointed the debate was not allowed to take place at the planning level because farms will continue to get larger.

"Perhaps the UK is not ready for it yet but over the next 10 years dairy farms will continue to get bigger and the number of farmers will fall."

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union, believed some campaigners were not facing facts.

'Smart technology'

"We should be focussed on how we produce affordable food," he said.

"There are people living in rural areas, often on good incomes, who want the countryside to be protected in some rural idyll.

"If we want to make sure people can afford to feed their families, we have to invest in smart technology."

But Nocton parish councillor Kate Tyler, who opposed the plan, said: "Anything intensive here is a problem because of the proximity to villages.

"This is a farming area, its the reason some of the villages are here, but the dairy would have ruined the area for the residents."

Nocton Dairies Ltd said it would not sell the land and was considering its options.

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