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Dedham Vale fruit farm scoops award for its green energy production

PUBLISHED: 13:53 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:53 26 July 2019

Strawberries growing at Boxford (Suffolk) Farms Picture: BOXFORD (SUFFOLK) FARMS

Strawberries growing at Boxford (Suffolk) Farms Picture: BOXFORD (SUFFOLK) FARMS

Boxford (Suffolk) Farms

A family-owned fruit farm operating in the Dedham Vale has scooped an international green energy award for its biogas generation.

Robert England of Boxford (Suffolk) Farms, which has just won an international green energy award  Picture: BOXFORD FARMSRobert England of Boxford (Suffolk) Farms, which has just won an international green energy award Picture: BOXFORD FARMS

Boxford (Suffolk) Farms a third generation family business won the Best Biogas Plant Award at the International Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and Biogas Awards 2019 in Birmingham.

More than 400 guests attended the black-tie ceremony, hosted by BBC reporter and eco-adventurer Andy Pag, with 14 titles in contention.

Boxford (Suffolk) Farms Ltd, is a third-generation family fruit farming business which was established in 1938. It employs 250 staff and produces more than 6200 tonnes of apples, cherries, soft fruit, and maize, from 200ha of land in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It was up against seven other international companies, including London's Severn Trent Green Power, for the award.

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It was also highly commended in the Most Circular City Award, for the most innovative approach to the integration of energy systems, a category won by Technical Bioenergy in Crete.

Boxford (Suffolk) Farms director Robert England said: "For over 80 years, the Peake family's long-term strategy has been to operate as a sustainable green business and we are really pleased that our achievements have been recognised by these prestigious awards.

"Our anaerobic digestion (AD) biogas plant was developed, utilising local resources and by-products from fruit-growing, packing and Copella Juice enterprises, and is producing renewable, green electricity and heat sources for Copella, BSF and our sister company, Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa to lower input costs, reduce our carbon footprint, benefit local communities and the environment."

The business has also used its AD heat by-product to dry woodchip for biomass boilers to heat its soft fruit glasshouses, and the dried digestate provides rich organic fertiliser for their crops and orchards. In doing so, it has created a circular economy which is a potential role-model for other horticulture businesses.

The awards were jointly organised by the UK Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) and the World Biogas Association (WBA). ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said the industry could make "an unrivalled contribution" to cutting CO2 emissions.

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