Arla Foods has been given the green light for its planned new liquid milk dairy in the UK.

Local officials in the town of Aylesbury gave their “unanimous” support for the plant, which will process around 1.3bn litres of milk a year.

The dairy giant announced plans for the new facility a year ago but the project attracted local opposition.

The Danish-Swedish co-operative said its investment would boost the econonmy in a “very challenging, recessionary market”.

Peter Lauritzen, CEO of Arla’s UK operations, 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.”

The UK government will now make a final decision on the project. Arla said the new dairy would generate 700 new jobs for the area. It added that it is aiming for the dairy to be up and running “towards the end of 2012”.