Milk protest called off after retailer pledge

Milk protests at an Iceland distribution site were cut short after the company agreed to open its books to farmers but elsewhere protests continued as planned.

More than 300 farmers took part in a peaceful blockade of Iceland’s milk distribution centre in Warrington, Cheshire.

The blockade began at 8pm on 2 August, but was called off less than three hours later after the retailer pledged to open its accounts to Farmers For Action representatives.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly, FFA chairman David Handley welcomed the move. Mr Handley said: “I hope it forces the hand of other retailers to open their books so that we can get to the bottom of where the money is going in the supply chain.”

Meanwhile the 300 protesters who had left the site, regrouped in an impromptu blockade of a Morrision’s distribution depot 20 miles down the M6 at Middlewich.

The Middlewich depot was quickly brought to a standstill.

One dairy farmer, who took part in the protest, reported that the Morrison’s plant was completely shut down with a growing number of articulated lorries stacking up, as they tried to get into, and out of, the site.

The third of the night’s blockades took place at a Farmfoods distribution centre in Solihull, West Midlands.

About 150 protesters, including the Farmers For Action chairman David Handley, used tractors and other farm machinery to stop vehicles leaving the centre. The protest which started at about 8:30pm, continued beyond midnight.

All three blockades followed a pledge by leaders of the campaign for fairer milk prices to ramp up the pressure on smaller-scale milk retailers.

More information and a video report will follow later.

For further coverage of the campaign go to our milk price cuts crisis page.