NEARLY 100 creamery jobs in north Wales are to be axed as dairy group Arla cuts around 154 posts in the UK.

The farmer-owned dairy group said cheese production at Llandyrnog Creamery, Denbighshire, would end as it cuts 154 posts around the UK and 195 across Europe.

The cuts follow a wide review of its cheese business.

An Arla spokeswoman said that under the proposals the factory would close by the end of the year, with a phased redundancy programme and production would move to other UK sites.

In a statement, the company said it had "identified a substantial opportunity to diversify its cheese production" and "improve efficiencies".

"Arla is announcing a proposal to cease production at its Llandyrnog creamery while potential opportunities for the production of other products are explored further,” she said.

"Under these proposals, Arla does not anticipate any impact on its supply of Welsh milk and will endeavour to produce its current portfolio of cheeses dependent on demand from its retail or foodservice customers.

"We recognise that this will be a difficult time for all those colleagues impacted by these proposals and our priority right now is to support them to manage this situation as best we can.

Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane described the move as devastating and said he would do "everything possible" to ensure a future for the plant, which has been on site for nearly a century.