Guernsey dairy price tag could top £26 million

Credit: ITV Channel TV

The expected cost of Guernsey's new dairy could top £26 million.

The States say inflation, paired with rising prices for construction equipment and materials are partly to blame.

Two potential sites for the project have been shortlisted from an initial list of 16, with land on the Brickfield House site the States' preferred location for a new dairy.

The island's 1,360 dairy cows produced 7.6 million litres of milk in 2021 - but the States says ongoing repairs to the existing building have racked up a bill of more than £900,000.

In 2014, the States decided to reduce the level of subsidy farmers received. Factoring in inflation, it has now fallen from around £3.3 million to a level of £1 million.

Michael Bray, President of the Guernsey Farmers Association, says this was supposed to be agreed in return for a more efficient dairy for their produce to be processed - something he says is urgently needed.

The President of the Guernsey Farmers Association says a new dairy is essential to safeguard the island's native cattle breed. Credit: ITV Channel TV

He said: "We can’t afford not to do it because the industry needs a new dairy. I’ve seen personally the problems that the dairy is having, the inefficiencies it’s running and to safeguard our industry and Guernsey farming, our wildlife and our heritage, our breed, we need this new dairy.

"They’ve got to fulfil their ambitions that they started out in 2020 when they said they were going to start building a new dairy and they wanted to push forward with it.  They’ve spent the money there, let's carry on with it and move it forward."

However, others have expressed concern at the costs involved.

Deputy Neil Inder, President of the island's Committee for Economic Development, said: "I was kind of hoping that they might have done a little bit more better work on the 20 to 26 million pound cost for a dairy, which seems excruciatingly expensive in comparison to what we’re seeing elsewhere in the private sector. 

"But as you will see from the responses, guess what?  It’s even north of the £26 million pounds."