I was really pleased to go to Primrose Hill Primary School in Kings Norton last Thursday where they unveiled their new very fancy wind turbine.
Primrose Hill School is within the Three Estates area of Kings Norton and its intake generally goes not have a privileged intake, although to go that school, I reckon the school makes up for it. I would have loved to have spent my primary school days there.
This is no toy wind turbine – this is pretty big: 50 feet tall (15 metres in new money?) and 8 foot blades (2.5 metres) in length. It is enough to provide a third of all the school’s energy needs and is connected to the national grid so no electricity generated at night, for example, is lost.
What’s so impressive though is not that some Government officer went to the school and told them they want to put a turbine there. It was the School’s own staff, Head Teacher and Chair of Governors (Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s own Nigel Baker) who pushed this forward. With the help of Phil Beardmore, Mandy Ross and others from the Birmingham Sustainable Energy Partnership, Primrose Hill got a 50% grant from the Government. This left some serious fundraising to do at the school. Despite not being in a wealthy area, the school managed it. All credit to them.
On the launch day itself, teacher Eleanor Hoad organised a fantastic energy bazaar with various organisations coming along and lots of interactive activities set up to capture children’s imagingation and teach them about the environment at the same time. To be honest, our stall, manned by myself, was pretty lost when other people had fancy light boxes, free chocolate, paddling pools and bikes to power machines. It was still worthwhile though and engaged people in an area we generally don’t go to with street stalls. The bazaar glamourised renewable energy as it should be.
Local MP Lynne Jones, who has often supported Birmingham FoE in the past, gave a great speech about the importance of developing energy efficient schools as they are the foundations of the future and renewable energy is an essential part of that! She urged the school to go further and become carbon neutral. It just happens that the school is already looking into getting solar photovoltaics!
This school has cut carbon emissions by around 33% in one year. Suddenly makes Friends of the Earth’s “Big Ask” for 3% cuts in emissions per year on a national basis seem very possible!
All credit has to go to Primrose Hill for their initiative, leadership and creating such a prominent and positive symbol that the Three Estates area and school children can be proud of.