The investment in the site – which contributes about £200m a year to the local economy and is reportedly the largest creamery in the UK – would increase cheddar production from 54,000t to 77,000t, supporting the growth of Dairy Crest’s leading cheese brand, Cathedral City, at home and overseas.
Work on the creamery would be focused on installing, replacing and improving equipment within the confines of the site, with the bulk of the expansion dedicated to upgrading its existing wastewater treatment plant.
Upgrades to the treatment plant would allow the producer to recycle all the water used at the site, eliminating its reliance on South West Water. The plant would also address odour issues to reduce any impact on neighbours.
Commenting on the improvement, Davidstow site director Dylan Ellis said: “This project represents a major investment by Dairy Crest that will boost capacity, help with the long-term security of the 200 jobs on-site, reduce our environmental impact and create new opportunities for milk suppliers across the region.
“We are already talking to our existing farmers in Cornwall and Devon about increasing their production and we are also looking to expand our milk pool into Somerset. We hope that will give farmers the confidence to invest, knowing that there is a market for their milk.”
500m litres of milk
Dairy Crest spends up to £150m a year buying 500m litres of milk sourced from 330 dairy farmers across the south west. The expansion would require a further 200m litres of milk, worth an extra £60m a year to West Country farmers.
Solar energy developer Lightsource BP also planned to submit a parallel application to Dairy Crest, which would see a solar park installed next to the creamery that would generate 10% of the site’s annual demand for electricity.
Cornwall Council will formally consult on the applications before making a decision later this year.