Dairy Crest cuts 260 jobs at creamery and bottling plant

Milk bottles Image copyright PA
Image caption The volume of milk supplied in glass bottles has fallen from 94% of the total in 1975 to 4%

Dairy products firm Dairy Crest is to close a creamery in Somerset and bottling dairy in London, with the loss of 260 jobs.

Two hundred people work at the dairy in Hanworth, west London, where milk is put into glass bottles.

The remaining jobs will go at the creamery in Chard, which is due to shut by the end of next year.

Chief executive Mark Allen said the closures were right for the long-term future of the business.

'Environmentally friendly'

Hanworth will remain open for another two years. Its closure is due to reduced demand for milk supplied in glass bottles, with most people opting for milk in plastic bottles.

According to Dairy Crest, the proportion of milk sold in glass bottles has fallen from 94% in 1975 to 4% in 2012.

However, the food producer said plastic containers were now as environmentally friendly as glass.

The creamery in Chard makes a range of alcoholic and retailer-branded creams.

Mr Allen said: "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."

He added that the firm had tried to make the Chard site "viable for many years" but this had not worked.

Production will be stepped up at its three plastic bottling dairies in Chadwell Heath, Greater London; Foston, Lincolnshire; and Severnside, Bristol; to make up for the loss of production at Hanworth.

A consultation with staff across both sites is now under way.

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