With the support of the Duchy of Lancaster, tenant farmers across Staffordshire are embracing new and sustainable energy sources. Green biomass systems and the generation of electricity from photovoltaic (PV) panels are just two of the measures introduced on Duchy farms in 2015.
Two of the larger farms on the Needwood Estate – Coton Hall and Lower Castle Hayes Farms – have PV panels installed on the roofs of farm building and are generating almost a 100KW of electricity, returning any surplus to the National Grid. By the end of the year, a further two farms will also have similar systems installed.
The Duchy of Lancaster is committed to encouraging the introduction of new and sustainable energy across all its land and property holdings. Earlier this year, it invested in a cutting edge biomass plant to provide heating and hot water to another Staffordshire farm tenant and rural business, Bennett Equine in Tutbury.
Commenting on the willingness of tenants to embrace these new technologies, Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “The increased use of green energy sources is very important to the future of efficient agricultural operations. These investments enhance the commercial viability of our farms whilst also contributing to our commitment towards carbon management. We are very proud of the proactive approach taken by many of our tenants to the challenges of farming today. The introduction of new and green technologies is, we feel, a positive move forward.”
The Duchy of Lancaster’s Staffordshire Survey includes a mix of arable, dairy, sheep and beef farms as well as residential and commercial property and 500 hectares of ancient woodland, largely centred on the historic Needwood Estate.