Farmer resubmits Leighton 'super dairy' plans

Farm The dairy is earmarked for Lower Leighton Farm, Leighton

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A farmer has resubmitted plans for a controversial 'super dairy' following objections from the Environment Agency and local people.

Fraser Jones plans to build one of the first such parlours in Wales for a herd of 1,000 cattle near Welshpool, Powys.

The Environment Agency was concerned about the risks posed to groundwater and how manure would be managed.

Mr Jones said those concerns had been addressed, and he would plant more trees and extend an anti-noise wall.

The project was unveiled in August last year, and Mr Jones held a public meeting in the village of Leighton, where the dairy is planned.

But following concerns from the Environment Agency the original plans have been withdrawn.

Start Quote

Fraser Jones

There's going to be a lot more trees and plantations to mask the visual impact - about treble the amount there was in the original plans”

End Quote Fraser Jones Farmer

Powys council said it had also received a "high number" of objections from local people.

An action group was formed to highlight concerns about the visual impact, the potential noise and smell from the site, and the dairy's proximity to Leighton primary school and homes.

Compassion in World Farming also objected and accused Mr Jones of factory farming.

Then, last October, the National Trust complained the dairy could spoil the view from nearby Powis Castle.

Mr Jones has disputed concerns about welfare, saying his animals' health will be monitored all the time, and he claimed the dairy would improve milking conditions.

But Mr Jones confirmed he had submitted new plans for the dairy.

He said: "I have made a few alterations. There were concerns that manure from the dairy would be spread onto rented ground and if I was to lose that ground then I would have nowhere to spread the manure.

"That has changed and I now intend to spread manure on ground I own."

Mr Jones said the overall design remained the same and the dairy and neighbouring buildings could accommodate up to 1,000 cows in total.

Widespread opposition

"The Environment Agency wanted a few things done which I have done to satisfy them.

"There's going to be a lot more trees and plantations to mask the visual impact - about treble the amount there was in the original plans," he added.

"I'm also increasing the height of a soil bund (a wall near the dairy) to help reduce the impact of noise, although there isn't going to be much noise at all."

A new consultation process has started, and the new plans will be on display at Roger Parry, a chartered surveyors, in Welshpool on Thursday between 1400 and 1800 GMT.

Mr Jones said he would be available to meet people by appointment at Roger Parry's at the same time.

The Environment Agency said it objected to the original plans on two aspects.

A spokeswoman said: "Firstly, the applicant had not supplied adequate information to demonstrate that the risks posed to groundwater can be satisfactorily managed.

"Secondly, there was insufficient technical information submitted to support the proposal in regard to slurry storage, silage storage and the manure management plan."

Plans for the UK's largest dairy farm, near Lincoln, were withdrawn earlier this month after widespread opposition.

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