DEFRA minister Lord Rooker formally opened the first £80m phase of Robert Wiseman Dairies’ new facility in Bridgwater, Somerset on Wednesday (3 September).

Once up to full capacity, the plant will process and pack 500m litres each year, almost 10% of Britain’s fresh milk. Currently the first phase has a capacity of 250m litres, but preparatory work has already started to increase this to 350m litres per year.

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“Bridgwater is the largest single investment in the British dairy industry to date, and we believe it represents a step change because of the focus placed on use of energy, water, materials and waste,” Robert Wiseman said.

“It is located in the heart of one of Britain’s largest milk producing areas, which keeps farm tanker miles to a minimum.”

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It also has its own on-site water treatment plant and incorporates a zero waste to landfill policy.

Lord Rooker said the new facility demonstrated the industry’s willingness and ability to reduce its environmental impact in the face of climate change – something at the heart of the Milk Road Map launched in May this year.

“I very much hope that others in the industry will be able to follow Robert Wiseman’s lead,” he said.

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