London-based Dairy Crest announced plans to close its glass bottling dairy plant in Hanworth, West London, and its specialist cream potting facility in Chard, Somerset, affecting close to 260 jobs.
The proposal to end production at Hanworth follows a strategic review of the company’s residential delivery service, and reflects reduced demand for milk in glass bottles. Dairy Crest also confirmed that across the supply chain as a whole, delivering milk in plastic bottles, which are lighter and increasingly made from recycled material, is now as environmentally friendly as glass.
The Hanworth dairy is expected to remain operational for another two years. During that time, production at the company’s three plastic bottling dairies at Chadwell Heath, Foston and Severnside will step up to meet the demand from residential customers. After Hanworth’s closure, Dairy Crest will deliver fresh milk solely in plastic bottles.
Meanwhile, the Chard plant is proposed to close in the second half of 2015.
“The decisions to consult on the closure of our Hanworth and Chard sites have not been taken lightly, but they are right for the long-term future of the business as a whole. We will do all we can to help employees who may be affected by these proposals,” says Mark Allen, chief executive. “At Hanworth, nothing is going to change immediately, but sales of milk in glass bottles are falling, and we have to give our employees at Hanworth clarity over the dairy’s future. We also have to let our milkmen and women know that we are doing all we can to protect their livelihoods. By offering residential customers the same great-tasting British milk from the same farmers as we do now in plastic bottles we are doing just that. Our decision to consult with employees at Chard is an economic one. We have tried to make this site viable for many years but regrettably this has not proved possible despite the best efforts of a dedicated workforce.”