Westbury Dairies announced a full-scale, strategic review of its business this week as former NFU president Sir Ben Gill stepped down after two years as chairman.

The Wiltshire factory’s operational management will now report directly to the joint venture company’s board, formed from co-operatives Dairy Farmers of Britain, First Milk and Milk Link.

A spokesman for Westbury Dairies said:

“Sir Ben Gill was brought in on a fixed-term contract at a time when the practical operation of the plant had to be stabilised and to provide leadership and political expertise against a background of CAP reform.”

But none of the co-ops involved could say how long the review would take or what its likely outcomes might be.

“Changes in intervention support and wholesale milk supply profiles have meant the role of Westbury has changed.

“Over the same time, some of the co-operatives involved have invested in milk-processing assets and there are now opportunities to integrate Westbury operations to reduce costs,” said the spokesman.