Big changes to Nocton super-dairy plan

Plans for an 8100-cow dairy herd in Lincolnshire have been substantially revised, says the company behind the proposals.

Nocton Dairies made the statement after a key partner pulled out of the project amid opposition from local residents.

Nearby pig farming company Patrick Dean Ltd had intended to make more than 800ha (2000 acres) of farmland available for slurry spreading from the dairy.

But managing director David Knott has now withdrawn the offer, fearing the “unwelcome public attention which is being drawn to the project”.

Six miles south of Lincoln, Nocton residents have voiced concern over the impact of the development on the environment – including odour, noise and increased traffic levels.

Animal welfare campaigners have also voiced opposition.

Despite the set-back, Nocton is expected to re-submit its planning application imminently having withdrawn it for technical reasons earlier this year.

Nocton Dairies director David Barnes said: “We continue to investigate a number of options and the path we decide to take will be clearly outlined in the planning application when it is submitted.

“We’d like to stress that the plan has changed significantly and we hope that rather than speculating, everyone waits to see the contents of the application before jumping to conclusions.”

No raw slurry would be spread on local fields, said Mr Barnes. The only substance to be spread would be odourless waste from the farm’s anaerobic digester.

“It’s important we have a robust plan for the local spreading of digestate as this is one of the areas of greatest concern to residents,” added Mr Barnes.

“We’re aware Patrick Dean Ltd had decided not to continue with their initial plan to make use of this digestate, but this changes nothing.”

Spreading digestate on fields helped improve soil organic matter, Mr Barnes said, a benefit recognised by Patrick Dean.