The Vice Premier of China, Li Keqiang, visited Watford this morning as part of his whistlestop tour of the UK.

Mr Li toured the Innovation Park at BRE, in Bucknalls Lane, where he saw examples of homes powered by various types of sustainable energy.

He accompanied by Vince Cable MP, the business secretary, Dr Peter Bonfield, chief executive of BRE, as well as more than 30 Chinese government ministers, officials and journalists.

Earlier this week, Mr Li met Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street and announced China would give Britain two pandas, to be homed at Edinburgh Zoo, as part of a £2.6billion trade deal agreed with Chancellor George Osborne.

During his visit to BRE, Mr Li entered three buildings on the park – the net zero carbon Barratt Green House; the UK manufactured, recycled steel Cub House; and the BRE Victorian Terrace, which features a range of materials and technologies to improve the energy efficiency and carbon footprint of existing homes.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Li chatted with Dr Bonfield about sustainable energy sources as the scrum of photographers and videographers documented the last day of his four-day UK tour.

Following the visit, Dr Bonfield said: “It was great and very significant.

“This comes quite soon after the Prime Minister came to see us so we're delighted. It's very important that the Chinese Vice Premier chose to come to the UK.

“This is a really good seed from which to grow and it's fantastic he came. He was clearly inspired by what he saw and it must be good for export, inward investment and delivering better outcomes for our countries.”

Vice Premier Li, who is widely expected to succeed Wen Jiabao as China’s Premier in two years, has been visiting the UK to strengthen political and economic ties between the two nations.

Dr Cable said: "The UK is already a world leader in many low carbon goods and services. We are changing the way the world thinks about carbon, from our proactive regulatory environment and carbon reporting through to collaboration and accountability throughout the supply chain.

"This is nowhere more evident than in the construction sector where sustainability is at its heart. BRE Innovation Park is a great example of what can be achieved in low carbon and I am delighted to bring Vice Premier Li to this centre of excellence."

Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill was delighted Mr Li was able to visit BRE.

She said: “I'm just glad BRE is what it is – a world leader of the build environment. I call it a 'WOW' place – a Wonder of Watford.”

Speaking about Britain's economic links to China, Roger Gagan, chief executive of the Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce, added: “We already import a lot of goods from China but we also need to start exporting more. One of our members already exports to China very successfully but I hope that we can do more in future.

“China is already the second biggest economy in the world and will soon be the biggest.”