THE PRINCE of Wales is due to visit the region today to officially open the new Darlington Farmers Auction Mart.

During his visit, Prince Charles will meet Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS) farmers in the mart’s award-winning café to hear how the livestock sector and wider farming community are meeting the challenges of the growing cost of inputs such as energy, fertiliser, grain and labour, as well as the ongoing structural changes in the sector.

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Following a brief stop at a veterinary practice, His Royal Highness will walk across the penning area to see the new handling facilities, meet customers and view some sheep and cattle.

In the sale ring, in front of staff and customers, The Prince of Wales will unveil a plaque officially opening the mart before departing.

After nearly 200 years near Darlington Railway Station, the mart has moved to new purpose-built premises in The Humbleton Park Auction Centre. The new facilities, which His Royal Highness will officially open, feature solar panels, ground source heating and the collection and treatment of animal waste for use as natural fertilizer.

The auction mart was previously located on Clifton Road, where it had been for 130 years, before it moved to a purpose-built site at Humbleton Park, on the outskirts of the town in 2020.

The Northern Echo: Other Prince Charles visits Durham Cathedral and the Open treasure visitor experience in 2018. Picture: CHRIS BOOTHOther Prince Charles visits Durham Cathedral and the Open treasure visitor experience in 2018. Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

The Prince of Wales will then travel to Kromek’s factory in Sedgefield for a guided tour of the laboratories and production facilities to see the technological innovation taking place within the facilities.

Kromek is the only independent producer of Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) in the world, which it makes in 180 furnaces in the Brinkman CZT growth facility in Sedgefield.

His Royal Highness will unveil a plaque in the manufacturing office officially opening The Brinkman CZT Growth Facility.

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