The Princess Royal meets military dogs and their handlers at DATR, Melton Mowbray (Picture: MOD).

Carbon neutral military dog training facility opened by Princess Royal

The 96% self-sufficient facility is part of the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray.

The Princess Royal meets military dogs and their handlers at DATR, Melton Mowbray (Picture: MOD).

The Princess Royal has officially opened a new training facility for military working dogs and their handlers at the Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) in Melton Mowbray.

Based at DATR, the Canine Training Squadron (CTS) is home to about 200 working dogs, training in various roles, including police force protection, arms and explosives searches, Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED), and drugs search operations in the UK and overseas.

Thanks to a £4.1m investment, the new facility will be carbon neutral and self-sustaining to 96%.

The Princess Royal met service personnel who showcased the training of military dogs and their handlers and the range of capabilities they provide to the Ministry of Defence (MOD). 

Princess Anne was also invited to plant a tree at DATR as part of the Queen's Green Canopy, an initiative to commemorate Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee.

Watch: Meet the MOD Police dogs sniffing out crime for UK defence.

The 'green' facility includes three new classrooms, indoor and outdoor training areas, a new station headquarters and training accommodation for dog handlers. 

In March, an Army Safety and Environmental Award was presented to DATR, recognising the collaboration between the unit, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and contractor Amey, in delivering the new, sustainable training facility. 

Using its own solar panels and a battery generator, it will fulfil its own electricity requirements. An air-source heat pump and recovery system will regulate heating across the site.

Additionally, a greywater harvesting system will recycle water for non-drinking needs, reducing the mains water supply by up to 60%.

DATR Commanding Officer Lt Col Mike Robinson RAVC said: "The Defence Animal Training Regiment provides innovative and crucial training for our personnel and military dogs. 

"I am pleased the Canine Training Squadron headquarters is officially open and can continue to provide a great learning environment for our Armed Forces whilst fulfilling our NetZero objectives."

The new facility has achieved a Defence Related Environmental Assessment Methodology (DREAM) rating of 'excellent' and will help the Army achieve its net-zero carbon emissions targets for 2050. 

In addition, cost savings from the project will be invested into Army infrastructure.