Cheesemaker Dewlay plants thousands of trees as world leaders gather for COP26 climate change talks in Glasgow

As the COP26 climate change talks continue in Glasgow this week we turn the spotlight on what one family business has done locally to help the environment.

By Fiona Finch
Monday, 1st November 2021, 4:19 pm
Nick Kenyon photographed by the landmark wind turbine at Dewlay
Nick Kenyon photographed by the landmark wind turbine at Dewlay

First there was a wind turbine, then a closer look at more eco friendly packaging options, now local cheesemaker Dewlay of Garstang has planted 5,800 trees on its land.

It was says Managing Director Nick Kenyon an option which made sense for the environment and sense for the Kenyon families and for their business.

He said: "Tree planting is a positive thing. We love the area we live in - we live on site. We wanted to create a bit of a legacy here. We just thought it was the right thing to do, especially in light of what's going on with the climate and climate change. We didn't really have an excuse not to, to be honest."

Laura Barnes, Technical Manager at Dewlay, pictured by some of the recently planted trees

The tree planting programme went ahead in consultation with tenants who were supportive of the eco-friendly plan.

Nick continued: "Out grandfather bought a dairy farm in 1980 and we milked cows on the farm for about 25 years to supply milk to manufacture cheese. Although we no longer have a dairy herd we still own the land. We have three tenants who rent our land, two of which are milk suppliers to our business."

There was a precedent for the tree planting - in 2003 Nick had worked on a project with his late father Neil to plant trees and has had the joy of seeing those grow from saplings.

This tiem round thousands of broadleaved native trees including oak, ash and silver birch were planted on some 170 acres.

A legacy for the future - thousands of trees have been planted by Dewlay

Nick said: "We put some Scots Pine in - a bit of everything really. It's quite expensive but there are incentives. We're pleased that we did it and it's created a bit of a legacy and helps offset some of our carbon footprint as a dairy manufacturing business."

The company had applied for grant aid which will help towards the costs.

Dewlay is located on the Garstang By-Pass Road and can be spotted from a distance due to its large wind turbine. The company is owned and managed by Nick and his brother Richard Kenyon, and employs more than 100 staff.

In 2010 the wind turbine was installed. Nick said: "It made both god economic sense to do from an energy security point of view and also from a sustainability point of view - to us it was a bit of a non-brainer. It has definitely put us on the map! There were some green incentives at that time to encourage people to get into renewables."

The turbine supplies all their energy needs when a wind is blowing and any unused power goes back into the National Grid. The latter option is especially good said Nick as Dewlay is a single shift business with no night work: "If it's blowing a gale at 3am then it goes back into the Grid. When the wind isn't blowing we have to be plugged into the Grid like everybody else."

When it comes to packaging as a traditional cheesemaker the company still supplies round waxed cheeses to retailers and for its prepackaged portions of cheeses it has reviewed the amount of wrapping packaging used in order to limit use of plastic. Nick said :"We are very conscious we only use what's absolutely necessary to preserve the life of the product."

As for the future he said: "We've got to think about our environment and our future a lot differently than we have previously."

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