Monthly Archives: October 2015


Rory Stewart MP visited Appleby Creamery recently, to see exactly how their cheese is made, and learn all about their forthcoming expansion.

The creamery, established in 2007, was named Cumbria’s Best Small Producer in 2013, and employs five full time members of staff and four part time. But this is now set to increase during 2016, following its recent partnership with some fellow entrepreneurs, passionate about high quality food production.

This fledgling artisan business was founded by Dumfries and Galloway Dairy Farmer, Mark Callander and Cumbrian Business Consultant, Stuart MacLennan, who later brought in Appleby Creamery Director, Maurice Walton, and more recently, Marketing Consultant, Pete Crouch, to form Cows & Co Group.

The Cows and Co cheeses are made from milk entirely from Mark’s herd of traditional Ayrshire cattle, used because the composition of their milk is ideally suited to cheese production. The creamery currently processes up to 300,000 litres of milk per year to produce 14 different cheeses and the rapid success of the Scottish arm of the business means that they must now consider moving to larger premises. The proposed new unit will be purpose-built to the rear of the Cross Croft Industrial Estate, from which they already operate, and will allow the creamery to produce their cheese on a larger scale, without compromising quality.

As part of their business plan, Cows & Co identified the need for a renewable energy strategy that would create a cost-effective means of generating both heat and power, thus producing a carbon-friendly product which is sympathetic to the core values of the business. This renewable energy strategy will arrive in the form of a biomass boiler, which will run using woodchips, locally sourced where possible and provide a sustainable, district heat scheme for all businesses on the new site. The planning process to install the boiler is currently underway, as part of a wider project to extend the industrial estate which is owned by local businessman, John Cannon.

During his visit, Rory sampled several cheeses and saw the cheese making process first hand. He said: ​“I am thrilled to see a small, local business taking advantage of a growing, strengthening economy by joining forces with energetic business partners and flourishing as a result. This cross-border approach will provide mutual benefit for both sides; creating opportunities for skills development and investment, and promoting economic growth and competition. I am also very pleased to hear about their district heat scheme: the Government is committed to meeting 15 per cent of the UK’s energy demands from renewable resources by 2020, and I believe these types of schemes have an important role to play in its success. Overall, this is a fantastic business model, expanding in a way which is sustainable, and the approval of planning which supports rural business growth such as this is key to the regeneration of our county.”

Stuart MacLennan of Cows & Co Group said: We are focused on bringing together the best forward thinking farmers and artisan businesses from across the whole of borderlands to grow sales and opportunities throughout premium UK & Export markets.


Rory Stewart MP dropped in to Appleby’s Rampkin House last week for a photograph with residents and their defibrillator, to raise awareness of the importance of public defibrillators (AEDs) as part of the North West Ambulance Trust’s (NWAS) ‘Shoctober’ campaign.

AEDs are small machines which can ‘shock’ a person’s heart into restarting and if this can be done in the vital first few minutes, patients have a 60-70 per cent chance of making a full recovery. They are easy to operate, and no clinical training is required to be able to use the machine. Located inside brightly colored cPAD (community Public Access Defibrillator) boxes, AEDs are accessed by calling 999 or 112 for the ambulance service – Ambulance Control will give the caller a code to unlock the box, and stay on the line to support the caller until an ambulance arrives.

The campaign will run throughout October and aims to remind those who purchase and install AEDs to make the Trust aware so that they can add it to their database. It is estimated that there are thousands of these life-saving portable machines in the North West which NWAS don’t know about, so if someone calls 999 in the event of a cardiac arrest, the Trust can’t direct them to the nearest cPAD box. NWAS are therefore asking people to send in ‘selfies’ and pictures of defibrillators via Facebook and Twitter – using the hashtag #findthedefib – and giving details of the location. Members of the public can also support by following and retweeting @NWambulance, sharing posts from the NWAS Facebook page, or emailing [email protected] with information relating to the location of defibrillators they have seen.

Following his visit Rory said: “In an area as rural as our own, defibrillators have become an absolutely essential means of providing rapid response and support to those in need of emergency medical care. Even with the best will in the world, emergency services are not always able to respond within eight minutes, so the more awareness we can raise about defibrillators, the safer our towns and villages become. And I am delighted to support this important campaign.”


Rory Stewart MP has expressed his support for the Countryside Alliance Awards 2015.  These awards, also known as the Rural Oscars, celebrate people going the extra mile to ensure that rural Britain’s food and farming industry, small businesses, traditional skills, forward-thinking enterprises and, most of all, it’s people, can flourish.

Rory said: “I am a huge supporter of small local business and am thrilled that the efforts of people living and working in rural communities is being recognised on a national platform, conveying a strong and positive message about the importance of our economy to rural and urban Britain alike.  Cumbria’s economy relies on the hard work of entrepreneurs and small and medium business owners, and the diversity and quality of their products and services – I urge everyone to get involved and nominate them today.”

There are four award categories; Local Food, Village Shop/Post Office, Butcher and Tourism Enterprise, and nominations are open until 2nd November 2015, with the regional winners being announced in February 2016.  National winners will be announced at the grand final in Westminster, which will take place in April 2016. Nominations can be made online –

Plastic bag charge to protect marine environment

Thousands of precious sea creatures, from seals and indigenous seabirds, to endangered sea turtles, will be protected with the introduction of the 5p charge for single use plastic carrier bags, Environment Minister Rory Stewart said today (Thursday, 01 October) during a visit to the Sea Life London Aquarium.

The charge, which comes into effect on October 5 for all retailers with 250 or more full-time employees, is expected to reduce the number of plastic bags taken from supermarkets by up to 80% and will bring down the number of bags that find their way to our coastline – one study found more than 4,000 plastic bags on our beaches in one weekend alone.

After speaking to conservation experts at the Sea Life London Aquarium today, Environment Minister Rory Stewart said:.

“Plastic bags are a blight on our environment and pose a real threat to marine animals who mistake them for food.

“Encouraging people to take fewer plastic bags from supermarkets is a small but important step in reducing plastic waste to protect our precious marine wildlife.”

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic makes its way into oceans each year, posing a serious threat to our natural and marine environment – experts estimate that plastic is ingested by 31 species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds.

Andy Bool, Head of the Sea Life Trust, a global marine conservation charity, said:

“Carrier bags and other plastic waste are a ubiquitous problem in the marine environment – not only do they spoil our beaches but they harm wildlife too.”

“Having very recently organised a beach clean, which removed 47 plastic bags from a 200 metre stretch of one Dorset beach, and having seen the deadly impact of plastic pollution on sea creatures like seals and turtles, I am delighted that a carrier bag charge is finally being brought in England. I hope it proves as effective at reducing their usage as it has in other areas of the UK.”

The 5p plastic bag charge follows the success of similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is designed to reduce the 8.5 billion single-use carrier bags taken from major supermarkets in 2014.

It is expected that the money will go to good causes, with £730 million to be raised in the next 10 years.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart added:

“Simple changes to our shopping routines, such as taking our own bags with us or using more bags for life, will have a huge impact on our natural and marine environment and will help clean up our high streets. But if people do need to take a new plastic bag from a shop they should feel confident that their money is going to a good cause.

“This new initiative will be of huge benefit to our environment and to our society.”


Local MP Rory Stewart has been on a fact-finding visit to the Animal Plant and Health Agency’s Plumpton premises near Penrith in his constituency, to see at first-hand the important work that the agency does in safeguarding animal and plant health for the benefit of the population, the environment, and the economy. He praised their work into world-class research and development into a broad range of animal and plant health issues, key to protecting and strengthening the rural economy both locally and nationally. It is an agency of DEFRA, the government department in which Rory is a Minister.

Responsible for identifying and controlling endemic and exotic diseases, and monitoring new and emerging pests, the APHA also undertakes vital scientific research into bacterial and parasitic diseases, ensuring the higher welfare of animals and the improvement of plant varieties. It protects wildlife through licensing and registration, manages a program of apiary inspections and diagnostics, and regulates the safe disposal of animal by-products to reduce the risk of contamination.

The APHA premises at Plumpton employ around 30 local staff members, and performs a crucial role within the national network of over 2,000 staff across a number of sites, head-quartered in Weybridge.

Rory said: “APHA performs a hugely important role in the optimising of farming and food security. They fulfill a really crucial role behind the scenes, and their work shows how incredibly complex the industry is; it is not merely about the products we buy and consume daily and see on our shelves, but about strengthening the security and safety of the industry, ensuring that we have some of the cleanest, healthiest and safest environments in which to farm and to run our rural economy. I was enormously grateful for this behind-the-scenes look at the APHA’s work, and would like to thank them for sharing their knowledge with me today.”


Rory Stewart MP has met with the National Grid project team to look over detailed maps and plans in connection with its ongoing community information events, designed to inform the public and local communities in Cumbria of ongoing plans for the new connection to link new sources of electricity into the grid in Cumbria and Lancashire. The MP for Penrith and The Border requested the meeting in order to discuss in person the National Grid’s plans for the county and, in particular, how it might impact on residents and businesses in Penrith and The Border.

The National Grid has recently announced its ‘route corridor’ – a broad ribbon of land through which a new connection could be routed. Part of the route passes through Penrith and The Border, to the west and north of Carlisle. The National Grid are now looking to determine the exact line the connection will take within this corridor, how it will be built and where equipment will go. It is holding a series of community information events, which began earlier this month; people will have the opportunity to speak to members of the project team and to see the details of evolving designs.

Rory said: “I am impressed at the number of community engagement events that the National Grid are planning, and am encouraged that they are showing such a keenness to interact with local residents, businesses and other organisations with an interest in how the connection corridor is going to develop. Obviously, we need to balance the need for this energy project, with the need for community and landscape protection. The Grid have at all times kept me closely informed, and I look forward to that continuing. We all have an interest in this project, since energy provision affects us all; there are no easy solutions to it, and the importance of dialogue in discussing with the public how the Grid delivers energy now and in the future, cannot be underestimated.”

Joe Brunwin said: “Developing positive relationships with local stakeholders, including MPs, has been central to the development of the project. Over the past few years we have met with MPs in our project area as much as possible, which has included several meetings with Rory. We are glad to be able to provide him with these important updates in person, and welcomed the chance to meet.”

No Image


Please note that local MP for Penrith and the Border Rory Stewart will
be holding open surgeries at the following locations on ​Thurs​day​ 8​th ​October 2015:

130​0​-1​40​0 – ​Tufton Arms, Appleby​
1​5​30-1​6​30 – ​Booths Cafe​, Penrith​

No appointment is necessary, and all constituents are welcome. More
information can be found at

For more information please call 01768 484 114.