NIEA signs innovative environmental agreement with Dale Farm

Date published: 22 August 2019

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced the signing of a Prosperity Agreement between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and dairy company Dale Farm.

The Prosperity Agreement aims to provide a welcome boost to the environment whilst supporting business competitiveness and is the latest to be signed by NIEA and a Northern Ireland business. It will help companies to lead in innovation and enables them to seize opportunities from environmental challenges for ‘green growth’.

The agreement is the latest in a series of environmental initiatives by Dale Farm. Notably, last year the company launched one of the biggest solar farms in the global dairy industry at its Dunmanbridge cheese facility in Cookstown. Since its launch in summer 2018 and the end of May 2019, the solar farm has supplied Dale Farm’s production plant with 4,308,340 Kwh electricity.

In welcoming Dale Farm to the Prosperity Agreement portfolio, David Small, Chief Executive of the NIEA, said: ‘It is with great pleasure that I sign this agreement with Dale Farm today. The company has already demonstrated a commitment to the environment by reducing its carbon footprint through a successful solar farm installation in County Tyrone. This agreement will enable us to work with Dale Farm to further build on this development and deliver positive business and environmental benefits.”

DAERA considers that focussed collaboration and engagement with businesses is an effective and complementary approach to regulation. The Agreement is supported by a strong collaborative network and strategic relationship with environment regulator NIEA, helping ensure that NI businesses are at the forefront of a low carbon, resource efficient and circular economy.

As part of the new agreement, Dale Farm will further reduce CO2 emissions from their operations, seek to reduce reliance on single-use plastics and increase the recyclability of their packaging.

Dale Farm will continue to advise and support its 1,300 farmer members through signposting the available resources provided by the NIEA.

Speaking as the agreement was signed at Dale Farm’s Pennybridge facility, Nick Whelan, Dale Farm Group Chief Executive commented: “We look forward to working closely with NIEA to help address the challenges facing the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland from an environmental perspective. 

“As a major dairy cooperative, we need to consider our impact on the environment at every step of the supply chain and production process.“

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption - The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced the signing of a Prosperity Agreement between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and dairy company Dale Farm. Pictured at Dale Farm's Pennybridge facility are (left) Nick Whelan, Dale Farm Group Chief Executive and David Small, Chief Executive of the NIEA. 
  2. Dale Farm Ltd, the largest UK farmer-owned cooperative, uses fresh local milk from its network of 1,300 farmer owners to create an award-winning range of dairy products. Through its Dale Farm, Dromona, Mullins and Spelga brands, Dale Farm’s cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream and desserts continue to grow in popularity with consumers across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and beyond.
  3. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is an Executive Agency within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The Agency’s primary purpose is to protect and enhance Northern Ireland’s environment, and in doing so, deliver health and well-being benefits and support economic growth.
  4. NIEA has existing agreements with Linden Foods/Linergy, Lafarge Cement Ireland, John Thompson and Sons, Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Co., AES UK and Ireland Ltd, Granville Ecopark Ltd, Ulster Supported Employment and Learning (USEL) and Lakeland Dairies (NI) Ltd.
  5. For more information about signing a Prosperity Agreement with NIEA, email: or visit the DAERA website.
  6. The department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.
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  8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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