Despite rising exports of milk and dairy products last year, Britain’s net dairy import bill rose to an all-time high in the 12 months to December.

At a record cost of £1.34bn, 950,000 tonnes of dairy products were imported and the overall value soared by 25% on that of 2002.

At the same time, UK dairy exports showed a 33% rise to 684,000 tonnes, again breaking all previous records, bringing revenue to the UK dairy industry of £650m.