'Super dairy' application resubmitted

A PLANNING application for a controversial "super dairy" was resubmitted today – but the farmers behind the scheme have more than halved the number of cows they plan to have on the farm.

The original plans for Britain's largest dairy farm with 8,100 cows on a single site at Nocton Heath, Lincolnshire, provoked an angry response, some opponents labelling it "the equivalent of battery chicken farms for cows".

The application was withdrawn earlier this year, but the two farmers proposing the scheme said they had listened to concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of the scheme, and were now resubmitting the plans.

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The application was resubmitted to North Kesteven District Council, and a 13- to 14-week consultation will be held.

The farmers, who each farm herds of 2,000 cows, said they had scaled back the plans to 3,770 cows which would now have access to outdoor paddocks during good weather in the summer.

But farmer Peter Willes, of Devon, said that if the farm was successful and they could demonstrate the system worked, they would consider expanding it.

He insisted the 34m farm would be sustainable, create 60 jobs, produce renewable energy to power 830 homes and fertiliser from the slurry produced by the cows, and have a low carbon footprint as the animal feed would be grown locally.

He said the new application had answered concerns about animal welfare.