30 June 2000
United Milk ‘reassured’ over anthrax

By FWi staff

UNITED MILK claims it has secured assurances that fears of a deadly cattle disease pose no threat to its proposed 40 million dairy plant in Wiltshire.

Land near the proposed factory site at Westbury has a history of anthrax outbreaks stretching back 40 years, it emerged last week.

United Milk claims it has asked the ministry of agriculture and local government officials to assess the risk to human health from the disease.

A letter from the company to Farmers Weekly said: “We remain firmly of the view that the proposed site at Northacre Industrial Park is entirely suitable for a milk processing facility and that anthrax fears in connection with the facility are unfounded.”

United Milk is also taking expert advice from Peter Turnbull, a former head of the anthrax section at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research Department under the Department of Health.

Dr Turnbull said: “In my opinion, there is no scientific, public health or product-based reason why the anthrax-related history of the Westbury area should deter United Milk from going ahead with the proposed plant.”

A local pressure group, Unite to Protect the Rural Area West of Westbury, has vowed to maintain opposition to the development.