Planners' green light for controversial dairy unit
Planning authorities in Wales have given the green light for a 1,000-cow dairy unit. Following a six-year wait, 34-year-old Fraser Jones has secured permission to go ahead with the construction of a massive 72-unit rotary milking parlour and nearly 100,000 square foot of cubicle space.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) had opposed the €4.4m development, on the basis that it was an example of factory farming that would compromise the animals' welfare.
The original application made in 2008 was refused on the basis of smell, noise and animal welfare concerns. As the issue gained greater public attention, a public inquiry was ordered in March 2013. The Welsh ministry approved the development in October 2013, but it was blocked by another legal challenge by the WSPA.
Mr Jones claimed that the process had cost him €375,000 so far, but that he had no regrets. He hopes to get started on the construction this week. The milking parlour has been sitting in crates for six years.
The unit will employ 12 full-time and up to four part-time staff.
Simon Pope, director of campaigns and communications for WSPA, said that the organisation was saddened and disappointed that the project was given the go-ahead.
"WSPA's serious concerns about the animal welfare of the cows within this system, as well as the impact it will likely have on the local area, consumers and other dairy farmers remain.
"Despite the loss, the charity believes the legal fight was worth undertaking and that its actions were firmly in the public interest," Mr Pope said.