European dairy cooperative Arla Foods has announced proposals to transfer part of the butter operation at its facility in Lockerbie, Scotland, to its Westbury site in England with the potential loss or relocation of around 22 jobs.

Arla said Lockerbie will continue to produce Scottish butter and whey butter and the proposals will not impact fresh milk or cheese production at the plant. Milk collection from farms will also be unaffected.

Arla said the move will “enable the site to focus on developing and growing its established fresh milk processing and award-winning cheese production capabilities, where it has built a strong reputation”.

Lockerbie site director Jim Grieve said the dairy hoped to transfer some 12 employees to other vacant roles at the site “as well as look at whether we can fill vacant positions at other Arla sites, including Westbury”.

Grieve said Arla is also considering applications for voluntary redundancies from the Lockerbie site. “We are committed to doing everything we can to support our colleagues at this time,” he said.

Arla said it has made significant investments in its Lockerbie site of more than GBP25m (US$30.8m) in recent years “to create one of the most advanced dairy sites in the UK”. The cooperative has also confirmed a new GBP14m anaerobic digester facility will be built at Lockerbie in 2017 to generate renewable energy and clean water from the dairy residues created at the site.

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By GlobalData

“This investment is reassuring to the 235 farmers, whose milk goes in to the site, that they have a guaranteed home for their milk and that the cooperative is continually investing to ensure that it adds value to every litre of milk that the farmers supply,” Arla said. 

In July, Arla announced the launch of a product in the UK – Arla Farmers Milk – to give consumers the opportunity “to pay a little extra on each bottle to help Arla farmers”.