Nocton Dairies has withdrawn a planning application for the construction of the UK's largest dairy, which would have housed 8,000 cows and produced 250,000 litres of milk a day.

In a statement, Nocton said that it had withdrawn the plans to establish the large-scale milk production facility in Nocton Heath, Lincolnshire, because of unresolved technical issues.

“The technical issues involved will take more time to address than we have available to meet the requirements of the planning authority and consultees,” the company said.

While Nocton has insisted that the dairy would have produced “high-welfare, low carbon” milk, the controversial proposal drew criticism from environmental and animal welfare organisations.

A spokesperson for Compassion in World Farming told just-food that the pressure group's campaign against the dairy had attracted “considerable support”, with 172 Members of Parliament signing its Early Day Motion to block the move.

One of the primary concerns expressed by animal welfare groups was the dairy's “unnatural” plans to keep cows inside and feed them on cereal, rather than allowing them free access to pasture.

“We are very pleased that Nocton has dropped this application,” the spokesperson said. “But we are also realistic. We know that they are going back and reviewing their planning application. But our campaign remains very strong.”

A spokesperson for Nocton confirmed that the company is mulling a second planning application, but declined to provide a timetable for any such move.