A collaborative effort between Clydesdale Bank’s leading Renewable and Agricultural divisions has given big backing to the greening of food production in North Yorkshire. By facilitating £6 million in funding to secure the acquisition of Richard Maxwell Limited, the Bank has achieved the acceleration of the supply of renewable heating to bespoke poultry sheds. Owning and operating 12MW of biomass boilers, Biomass Group Limited delivers sustainable heat at a level of 24Gwh per annum saving in excess of 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
For the production of chicken and turkeys, poultry sheds need to count on a reliable heat source. Biomass boilers are key to greening farming operations as they offer an opportunity to replace fossil fuel heating systems with a sustainable alternative in the form of either wood chip or pellet.
Virgin Money (owner of Clydesdale Bank) has a clear focus in supporting both businesses and individuals in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. It also supports standalone renewable projects in wind, solar and hydroelectric. The Bank understands that transitioning to a low carbon economy will be vital for averting the worst consequences of the climate emergency.
Speaking about the sector and what this acquisition means for the future of the industry, Head of Renewable Energy at Virgin Money, Keith Wilson commented on the significance of delivering this financial support:
“As an entrepreneurial organisation that is committed to Net Zero, we believe we have an important role to play in supporting businesses seeking to transition to more sustainable forms of energy. Lending in support of on-site renewable heat generation plays well to our strengths and is rapidly becoming a niche for our team here at Virgin Money, with this transaction being our third, in as many years”.
Upon the announcement of the acquisition, Brian Richardson, Head of Agriculture at Virgin Money said:
“This is a great example of how the Bank has been able to bring together its specialist knowledge from two distinct divisions to drive the sustainability agenda forward. Being able to bring our in-depth knowledge of the poultry sector and of future markets meant we were able to advise on the sustainability of this long-term project. This acquisition will make a real difference on the ground by providing renewable heat generation to large scale poultry producers, who are aware of the impact of fossil fuels to their climate emissions. This is great for the sector, indicating the direction of travel and what needs to be done to prepare for the future.
“It’s clear that now, and into the future, food production is going to be all about green credentials. It will continue to rise in importance for consumers and helping industry leaders deliver on the Net Zero ambition is a core goal of our financing strategy.”
One of the UK’s largest poultry integrator, which benefits from green financing through biomass heat to 36 of its poultry sheds, is one of the UK’s largest food businesses, serving the chicken and turkey market and supplying both supermarkets and restaurants. Bringing renewable energy production to such a large-scale poultry operation is a considerable achievement in terms of the changing tide on industry-wide action on climate change.
More and more supermarket and restaurants buyers are seeking out suppliers who are taking steps to implement a Net Zero agenda, and companies that are bringing renewable energy production to their operations are signalling their clear commitment to move away from fossil fuel energy. This is a significant achievement in terms of the changing tide on industry-wide action tackle climate change.
Trevor Coultan, Managing Director of Biomass Group Limited commented: “We are keen to lead a transition towards sustainability across the sector, and are very happy with the funding facilitated by Clydesdale Bank introduced to us by Lennox Partners. We are a specialist biomass boiler company providing renewable energy to Agri businesses, and we are growing in confidence that our alternative fuels and infrastructure will put the pressure on eradicating dirty energy. We are dedicated to green solutions and are thrilled to be working with partners to bring down carbon emissions on the farm.”
Achieving substantial funding at the intersection of renewables and agriculture highlights the potential for new technologies to revolutionise the agri-industry’s approach and common sense on energy. Many more projects will likely benefit from Virgin Money’s goal towards building a sustainable future for British agriculture.