Plans to set up the UK’s largest dairy farm have been withdrawn by Nocton Dairies in response to Environment Agency concerns that the “Mega Dairy” could cause pollution in the ground and soil surrounding the farm.

Plans to set up the UK’s largest dairy farm have been withdrawn by Nocton Dairies in response to Environment Agency concerns that the “Mega Dairy” could cause pollution in the ground and soil surrounding the farm.

Molly and Kevin Eldon perform 'Our love is in your cornflakes - Not in my Cuppa'.Nocton Dairies Ltd has written to North Kesteven District Council to formally withdraw its application for planning permission to build the 3,770 cow dairy farm at Nocton Heath, Lincolnshire.

A statement issued by the company yesterday (February 17) claimed: “The sole reason for this decision is the response of the Environment Agency, which has maintained its objection to the proposal.”

“The Environment Agency’s grounds are lack of information about risks posed to the aquifer underlying the site and uncertainty about the extent of the benefits associated with the change in land use.

“Despite our best efforts to address these concerns […] lack of relevant research has made it impossible to provide the reassurances required by the Environment Agency that livestock farming is an appropriate use of land at this site.”

Proposals for the dairy had received strenuous objections from a number of individuals or organisations, although Nocton Dairies stated that this had no bearing on its decision.

Campaigns against the dairy included the WSPA Not in my Cuppa campaign, which asked supporters “Would you drink milk from battery cows?” and saw the group team up with Adam Miller (creator of BBC3 puppet show Mongrels) and comedian Kevin Eldon to create the anti-mega dairy anthem “Our love is in your cornflakes – Not in my Cuppa”.

Responding to the “fantastic news”, WSPA UK director Suzi Morris said: “There was a huge range of reasons why Nocton should not be given the go-ahead. For Not in my Cuppa this was never just about Nocton, but about the wide range of reasons why mega dairies are not the answer to the problems facing the British dairy industry.”

Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association.Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association, said: “This is good news, particularly for struggling small and family dairy farmers. Already up to three dairy farmers give up in Britain every day and the unit was likely to mean yet more small family farms go out of business.

Nocton was a potential animal welfare disaster and highlighted the way in which our farming systems have become increasingly divorced from what nature intended. Treating animals as little more than factory commodities raises serious questions about both the ethics and the resilience of our present systems for feeding ourselves.”

However, she claimed the news was just “one down one to go” and aired hopes that the news would see Midland Pig Producers decide against re-submitting its own planning applications for an intensive pig unit for 2,500 sows and around 20,000 piglets.

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