Hundreds of jobs will be lost after Dairy Crest announced its Hanworth glass bottling facility will be shut down.

Consultations begun today (22) with its 200 employees at risk of redundancy, although the site is expected to remain operational for a further two years.

The proposal to end production at the Hanworth building comes just days after getwestlondon revealed the much loved cows were to be moo-ved back home to the roof of the Dairy Crest building.

The company also said it would close its specialist cream potting facility in Chard in Somerset affecting 60 employees.

Chief Executive, Mark Allen, said: “The decisions to consult on the closure of our Hanworth and Chard sites have not been taken lightly, but they are right for the long term future of the business as a whole. 

"We will do all we can to help employees who may be affected by these proposals.

“At Hanworth nothing is going to change immediately but sales of milk in glass bottles are falling and we have to give our employees at Hanworth clarity over the dairy’s future. 

"We also have to let our milkmen and women know that we are doing all we can to protect their livelihoods. 

"By offering residential customers the same great-tasting British milk from the same farmers as we do now in plastic bottles we are doing just that.

”Our decision to consult with employees at Chard is an economic one. 

"We have tried to make this site viable for many years but regrettably this has not proved possible despite the best efforts of a dedicated workforce.”

Dairy Crest milk floats ready for deliveries at Hanworth Depot
 

The decision to close the Hanworth site comes after a massive reduction in demand for milk in glass bottles and a decrease in door-to-step residential delivery service.

Over the next two years production at the company's three plastic bottling dairies in Chadwell Heath, Foston and Severnside will be stepped-up to meet demand from residential customers and following the closure of the Hanworth building, Dairy Crest's milkmen and women will deliver fresh milk in plastic bottles only.

Statistics from Dairy Crest showed the proportion of milk put into glass bottles has fallen drastically from 94 per cent in 1975 to just four per cent in 2012.

Findings also revealed consumers prefer milk in plastic bottles and as a safer option to glass.

It is unclear what will happen in light of the new announcement in regards to the campaign to reinstate the plastic cows to the roof of the Hanworth Dairy Crest.

In recent weeks, local councillors confirmed Dairy Crest had agreed to reinstate the cows due to a clause in the original planning application and a new Twitter user Hanworth Herd - a voice for the cows - was also created.

The missing cows were first reported in July by father-of-four Joachim Jellinek of East Twickenham who launched a petition which attracted support from thousands of people worldwide.

A Dairy Crest spokesperson said: “The cows were a safety risk and there is a cost involved in restoring them to the roof of Hanworth.

"We are talking to the local council about them.”