The Prince of Wales visited Cornwall last week to open a new £4.2m biomass boiler at Dairy Crest‘s Davidstow creamery.

The biomass boiler is the biggest in the country outside of power stations and should cut Davidstow’s carbon footprint by 20,000t, or 12% a year, said chief executive Mark Allen. “We are determined to be at the forefront of environmental practice in the dairy sector.”

Using 18,000t of waste wood, it will produce 100,000t of steam to dry whey powder, and, offsetting much of the creamery’s £8m annual energy bill, should pay for itself in just four years.

With seven to 10m tonnes of waste wood sent to landfill each year, and 115m tonnes of organic waste, Prince Charles hoped that other dairies and businesses would follow Dairy Crest’s lead. “There is huge potential to remove an awful lot of carbon from the atmosphere, and create extra energy for this country,” he said.

As part of his West Country tour, which included a visit to a Duchy farm on Dartmoor, Prince Charles also launched a limited-edition Diamond Jubilee cheese which will be marketed next year to raise money for his Countryside Fund, and presented awards to local dairy farmers and workers.

Farmers Charles Sampson, Des Ludwell, and Chris Littlejohns, received awards for producing top-quality milk over the past five years.