Lincolnshire

Nocton super dairy cow numbers to be cut

The number of cows at a planned super dairy near Lincoln is set to be reduced.

The 22-acre (89,000 sq m) facility at Nocton had originally been for 8,100 animals kept indoors, producing 220,000 litres (387,000 pints) of milk a day.

But opposition from residents and animal rights campaigners led to the plans being withdrawn in April.

Now Nocton Dairies Limited has said new plans will be for a smaller - but so far unspecified - number of animals.

The firm had claimed the diary could produce milk more efficiently while still being a humane environment.

Welfare groups

But critics insisted the sheer size of this operation, based on similar super dairies in the United States of America, would blight the area, damage smaller farmers and pose a risk to the welfare of the animals.

Nocton Dairies director Peter Willes told BBC Radio 4's Farming Today they had altered the plans to give the animals more space and outdoor access.

He said: "We do not feel there is a nutritional benefit for the cows to go outside. But we have listened to the concerns of welfare groups, the RSPCA and the public of what they feel is better for the dairy cows.

"If they feel happier with cows allowed to go outside we are going to offer our cows outside space."

Detail promised

He added: "The application will be going in for less than 8,100 cows."

Nocton resident and campaigner Andrew David said despite hearing reports the numbers would be halved, he was still opposed to the development.

"Four thousand is still twice the size, I think, of the largest dairy operation in the United Kingdom.

"It is huge - and the significant difference between 8,000 and 4,000, does not address the two key areas that we are concerned about, one is environment, the other is health."

Nocton Dairies said it would reveal further details about its revised proposals next week with plans submitted to North Kesteven District Council sometime after that.

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