A traditional Kentish cheesemaker has turned to Dartford-based renewable company, Enevis, to help reduce its impact on the environment by installing a variety of renewable technologies on-site.

The independent cheesemaker, whose workforce includes 80 Friesian Holstein cows, already boasted strong green credentials. However, with the addition of a solar photovoltaic array and ground source heat pump the family-owned cheese farm can now proudly boast that its award-winning Winterdale Shaw and Oak Smoked cheese.

Robin Betts, owner of Winterdale Cheesemakers, said becoming carbon neutral was very important to him.

“When we began producing cheese in 2006 we incorporated a low energy input strategy in a bid to reduce our energy usage as much as possible,” he said. “This included only using morning milk, thereby retaining heat as well as freshness, and allowing our cheese to mature in our natural cave cellars, which hold a steady 10 degree heat level year-round – rather than use machinery to maintain a constant room temperature, which is one of the most energy-consuming processes for most producers.

“Now we have installed solar PV and ground source heat pump systems on site we have tipped over the edge from low energy to carbon neutral, something we’re delighted to have achieved. We believe we’re now the UK’s sole carbon neutral provider of hard cheese.”

The farm installed a 9.68kWp solar array that is expected to provide annual electricity savings of £883 combined with a tax-free income of £3,476 from the FiT scheme.

The ground source heat pump, which uses underground pipes laid in trenches to extract heat from the ground, is expected to provide savings of more than £1,500 per year.

Mr Betts added: “The cost savings of these technologies are great. In the long-term they will help us make big cuts in our energy bills.

“While becoming carbon neutral was our main goal, the financial benefits to us of having Enevis install the two systems are going to be excellent.”

Gary Mayatt, Managing Director of Enevis, said: “We are pleased to have played a part in helping Winterdale Cheesemakers realise their carbon neutral dream.

“Renewable energy systems can be tailored to the needs and resources of each individual business, providing the firm with a noticeable savings on its energy bills and also lowering its carbon footprint.”