Dairy firm Graham’s submits plans for bioenergy facility at Fife cheese plant

Graham’s The Family Dairy is claiming a first for Scotland’s dairy industry after submitting plans for a major low-carbon heat project at its Fife cheese plant.

A CGI image of the proposed facility at the Fife cheese plant.
A CGI image of the proposed facility at the Fife cheese plant.

The “ground-breaking” facility would generate and distribute bioenergy for onsite heat and power and position Fife “at the forefront of innovative decarbonisation solutions for the food and drink sector”, the firm said.

As part of the company’s wider green investment plans, the proposed development would generate renewable power that would deliver 80 per cent of the site’s baseload electricity, 50 per cent of peak electric load and 50 per cent of boiler gas supply.

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There is also the promise of a 20 per cent reduction in vehicle and traffic flow to and from the site at the Glenfield Industrial estate in Cowdenbeath and a 50 per cent decrease in effluent disposal.

The firm said the aim was to complete the project by next spring.

Managing director Robert Graham said: “Building a sustainable environment for our next generation is incredibly important to our family. We are actively working to achieve net zero carbon across every area of our business.

“The dairy sector has the potential to lead in the transition to a net zero carbon economy, particularly within the areas of heat and transport.

“Our plans for the Glenfield dairy in Cowdenbeath will mark a step change in investment within the dairy sector in zero carbon innovation, infrastructure and skills development to accelerate climate adaptation within industry.

“This builds on our recent investment in a 15 megawatt solar park on our farmland in the Carse of Stirling as we move our business, at speed and scale, to decarbonise.”

The Bridge of Allan-based company said it had conducted “extensive” environmental analysis in consultation with Fife Council, informing the design, siting, layout and mitigation measures for the project.

“These assessments which cover air quality, noise, aerosols, transport, landscape, ecology and drainage comply, in full, with technical standards to ensure the development will not impact on public health or neighbouring amenities,” it added.

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The firm said its plans came in response to the challenges set out by the Scottish Government in its energy strategy and the transition within the dairy sector to zero carbon operational processes.

Graham’s, which was founded in 1939, acquired the Glenfield dairy in 2015 and said it had increased the employee count to 150 during that time.

Last year, the milk producer entered into a record five-year partnership with discount supermarket chain Aldi.

The deal extended an existing partnership between the pair and saw fresh Scottish milk continue to be supplied to all 80-odd Aldi stores across Scotland. The deal was said at the time to be worth in the region of £55 million.

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