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Banks Renewables seeks wind farm classroom approval

Anna Dickinson, project developer at Royal Highland Education Trust
Anna Dickinson, project developer at Royal Highland Education Trust

Scottish school children would enjoy lessons about renewable energy if a classroom on the site of a wind farm is approved, says project developers Banks Renewables.

As part of its plans for a six turbine wind farm on the 5,000 acre Bandirran Estate, the Hamilton-based firm wants to create the learning centre in a steading building on the site.

The idea has been welcomed by experts with the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), a charity which aims to get children aged three to 18 in to the countryside to learn about rural life, including farming, food production, forestry and estate management.

Anna Dickinson is the project co-ordinator in Perth and Kinross with RHET and says a dedicated classroom on the site would be a fantastic resource to be used by visiting school parties.

Anna, who is also a secondary teacher, said: “I already know the site really well because the estate is one of our supporting farm hosts. Our aim is to get children and young people out of schools and into the countryside to explore what is on their doorstep and find out more about rural life.  Increasingly renewable energy is part of that.

“Being able to get up close to a wind farm would be a good opportunity, particularly since the Curriculum for Excellence is all about giving pupils the facts and information they need to make their own, informed decisions.”

Banks Renewables submitted a planning application for the Bandirran project to Perth and Kinross Council in January after consulting extensively with local people, the Estate and a wide range of local organisations and businesses.

The proposal  would see the community collect 2.5 percent of wind farm revenues and give them the added option to purchase up to a 5 percent share in the operating wind farm.

Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “Wherever we have sites we want to make sure that we provide tangible and long-term benefits to the surrounding communities.

“The beauty of the classroom on the Bandirran site is that its benefits would extend far beyond the local area and it could become a valuable resource for schoolchildren and their teachers from all over Scotland.”

According to Banks, the communities’ share of the wind farm revenue would be a minimum of £102,000 a year, equating to more than £2.5 million over the life of the wind farm.