Plan for largest Yorkshire Dales slurry store is approved

The slurry store at Town Head Farm will be built behind the trees on the hillside. Picture courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
The slurry store at Town Head Farm will be built behind the trees on the hillside. Picture courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
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A dairy farmer’s plans to build the largest circular slurry store in the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been approved.

At nearly 41 metres in diameter and five metres in height, the store will be able to hold six months’ worth of slurry from Town Head Farm’s 600 cows, or 6,005 cubic metres in total.

It will be made from concrete panels and built into the hillside north of Thoralby village in a position screened by trees and the lie of the land.

The proposal was granted planning permission at a meeting yesterday of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee.

The committee heard that the store would bring environmental benefits because farmer Michael Lancaster would no longer need to spread muck in the winter months, when high rainfall can cause run-off and river pollution. It would also mean muck could be applied at the right time to match the nutrient uptake of the grass.

Ian McPherson, the park authority’s deputy chairman, said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority recognises the critical role farmers play in looking after this treasured landscape, and in keeping local communities strong.

“We want to do all we can to support them, and in this case I would like to congratulate the applicant for investing in dairy, an iconic Dales industry which has suffered a lot in recent years.

“Getting permission to build a massive industrial structure high up on a hillside in a protected landscape was always going to be a challenge, and late last year a first set of plans was knocked back.

“The applicant listened to our concerns and came back with a fresh proposal. Despite its scale, the slurry store will be sensitively sited so that it should not have an intrusive impact on the visual quality of the landscape of Bishopdale.”

He said the case showed that wherever possible, the park authority’s planning service will work with an applicant to realise their plans. In the past five years, the authority has approved more than 95 per cent of all agricultural building applications, Mr McPherson said.

The Thoralby store will be able to hold more than 1.3m gallons of slurry, exceeding the size of a new circular tank at Green Farm in Rylstone, which received planning permission in May 2013 and stores 1.25m gallons.