Was in the Chamber just now for the presentation of a Ten Minute Rule Bill on Dairy Farming, from Stephen Phillips, the Conservative MP for the part of Lincolnshire where the planning application for the huge Nocton dairy farm has been made. See www.notinmycuppa.com if you haven’t yet heard about this. I’ve heard that the petition against the farm being organised by 38 Degrees has now got more than 77,000 signatures.
The MP made a very different speech to the one I would have made. It was all about protecting the livelihoods of dairy farmers by ensuring a good price for their milk; intensive dairy farming will make it difficult for other farmers to compete. He made only a very brief passing reference to animal welfare, and then made two points about the effect such a huge industrial dairy farm would have on the local environment: the impact of vast amounts of slurry (although he said country folk were ‘rather fond of the smell’), and the considerable increase in traffic caused by lots of lorries coming and go to collect the vast amount of milk being produced.
The actual text of the Bill is as follows: “to make provision for the minimum prices payable to dairy farmers for the production of milk; to establish minimum distances between intensive dairy farming operations and the nearest settlements; and for connected purposes”. It’s been listed for a Second Reading in June, which will be on a Private Members Bill Friday. It’s unlikely to proceed beyond that.