Northern Ireland-based dairy company Dale Farm has been recognised for its commitment to renewable energy, winning two awards at the 2018 Sustainable Ireland awards earlier this month in Belfast.

Dale Farm won in the category for ‘Best Use of Renewable Energy Sources’, largely as a result of its solar-powered production plant in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.

The Dunmanbridge Production Plant is powered by one of the largest private solar farms in the dairy industry world-wide.

As well as that, there was personal glory for Gary McNeill, Dale Farm’s group project engineer, who was named ‘Energy Manager of the Year’.

It is an honour to have lifted two awards for Dale Farm’s work in the area of sustainability – these are valued recognitions of our efforts towards creating a more responsible future for our business.

Dale Farm’s Dunmanbridge facility includes 15,000 solar panels, which provide energy for the plant – it’s the largest solar farm of its kind in the European food and dairy sector.

“We seek to take the lead in sustainability, and constantly assess our processes and facilities to see how we can enhance efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint,” said McNeill.

He said that the company will continue to expand its renewable energy efforts going into 2019.

“Our Dunmanbridge site is scheduled to convert to natural gas during 2019, a move which is anticipated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4,500t. All Dale Farm’s other manufacturing sites around the UK have already converted to natural gas,” added McNeill.