Controversial Arla super dairy gets green light

Related tags Dairy co-operative arla Arla foods

Arla has secured planning approval for its new £150m UK ‘mega dairy’, despite widespread local opposition to its plans.

Aylesbury Vale District Council’s (AVDC's) planning authority has approved Arla’s planning application, and the firm says its new dairy in Buckinghamshire will generate 700 new jobs within its catchment area.

The UK government will now make a final decision on whether to review Arla's applications itself, but the firm hopes its new dairy will be operational towards the end of 2012.

Danish dairy co-operative Arla Foods is privately funding the project on the 35 hectare site, and the firm claimed the dairy will be able to process and package up to 1.3bn litres of fresh milk every year.

The company also maintains that its project will bolster the local economy, with around £20m pounds in wages due to be paid to staff every year, while the firm will also create up to 1,000 construction jobs over the next 18 months.

Peter Lauritzen, CEO of Arla Foods UK, said: “This will be a state-of-the-art dairy designed to help Arla achieve its growth ambitions in the UK.

“In addition to being one of the largest construction projects in the UK, our flagship building will also be the world’s first zero carbon dairy,” ​he added.

Supporting business park

Arla has also submitted three additional outline applications for the site, to deliver serviced commercial plots to create an “ancillary and supporting business park”​.

The company said it intends to liaise with suppliers to attract them to this site, to create a food manufacturing hub and reduce food miles associated with the dairy.

Arla Foods intends to liaise with its suppliers to seek to attract them to invest on the site, creating a food manufacturing hub and helping to reduce the food miles associated with the dairy.

But local resident Simon Icke told that he believed the decision-making process had been a “whitewash”​, and that the council had ignored over 890 local ‘letters of representation’ that opposed the build.

These concerns principally related to the destruction of countryside and roads unable to cope with high volumes of HGV traffic, which would mean “traffic chaos” ​and an increased the risk of accidents, he explained.

Robust application

Icke said: “The decision was made way back in September 2010 to bring Arla to the Aylesbury Vale by the officers of AVDC, when I believe they were telling people even that that ‘it was a done deal’.”

Only a few weeks later, Arla announced publically that they had secured the site at Aston Clinton for the dairy, Icke added.

An Arla spokewoman told that local concerns had been addressed: “We made a very robust application, which included a traffic survey and mitigation (accounting for road improvements). This was considered as part of the application, and that’s been given the green light.”

But Icke believes that over 3,000 protest letters against the four Arla plans had been ignored. “All our noble efforts over the last 10 months to see justice done have been in vain. A terrible injustice has been done by so few to so many,” ​he said.

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