A LEADING international company based in the village of Milverton plans to cut down on the number of products it imports – creating more local jobs and being kinder to the environment.

The Organic Herb Trading Company brands itself the UK’s leading supplier of organic herbs, spices and botanicals, with clients such as Yeo Valley, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Riverford Organic.

It sells to a range of customers in this country and worldwide in the herbal tea, food, health and beauty and medicinal markets.

Although it sources products from its own herb garden in Burn Hill, a “significant proportion” of what it sells comes from outside the UK.

The company now wants to expand its field growing capacity and has applied to Taunton Deane Borough Council for planning permission to create a new facility for herb trials in its garden, which already produces more than 60 species.

Its proposals also involve building a drying and storage facility and the creation of a new access/car parking area.

The new building would be environmentally-friendly, with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, composting and recycling facilities.

A spokesman said: “As a business, the Organic Herb Trading Company sees a big opportunity for import substitution, because a significant proportion of what they currently sell comes from outside the UK.

“By having production on both a small and medium scale, the company intends to become a model of best practice and through farm walks and meetings help stimulate a thriving opportunity for other farmers and growers in the South West.”

The firm, which claims to have “a positive relationship with the community”, prides itself on steps it takes to reduce any negative impact. Its plans would result in fewer delivery vehicles in Milverton and encourage staff to lift share or cycle to work.

A decision on the planning application is expected by the end of January – if successful the 50-strong workforce could take on between five and ten more staff.

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