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Lasting legacy for Lowestoft high school

PUBLISHED: 14:46 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 06 July 2010

TWO years of hard work finally came to fruition this week when the first turf was dug to signify a "lasting legacy" for a Lowestoft high school.

Students at Denes High drew up plans to generate their own green energy by building a 15m high wind turbine in the school's grounds - only for work to be delayed by rare bats.

TWO years of hard work finally came to fruition this week when the first turf was dug to signify a “lasting legacy” for a Lowestoft high school.

Students at Denes High drew up plans to generate their own green energy by building a 15m high wind turbine in the school's grounds - only for work to be delayed by rare bats.

But this week, there was joy for the students who set the project in motion in early 2008, as E-On Energy contractors finally began installing the Evance Iskra R9000 turbine.

Three of the teenagers who were closely involved in the planning application and bid-writing processes were back in school on Tuesday, during half term, as work began.

And with the new turbine set to be unveiled at the end of this month, the school in Yarmouth Road is hoping the scheme - which is the first of its kind in a Lowestoft school - will signal the beginning of a long-term project to educate students on energy conservation.

Last July, The Journal revealed how the bats had been found to be “cohabiting” in the area and concerns were raised that the proposed turbine might affect their flight path. With a full survey of the protected species required, the project was held up until last September.

Young entrepreneurs at the school had been working with teachers and staff, Enterprise Lowestoft, NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) and Make Your Mark officials on the turbine project as part of the Lowestoft Energy Challenge.

And after securing a total of £37,000 through various grants, work started to construct a freestanding 15m galvanised steel mast on a 2.5m concrete foundation situated to the south of the school this week.

The start of work on Tuesday was a proud moment for three of the students who had have been of the project since its inception. It started at the end of year 10 and will be completed just before they leave the school for further education.

“It has been a long process but I feel really proud that we will soon see something that we have been involved in,” said 17-year-old Elliott Shilling.

Holly Rowley, 18, said it was “really exciting” the see the work begin. “We decided on the turbine as we felt it would be a real statement from the school as Lowestoft is at the forefront of renewable energy.”

And 18-year-old Kyle Briggs added: “It has been just brilliant to be involved in the whole project, and with us a few weeks away from leaving this will be a physical reminder of the work we have been part of.”

For a delighted Justin Smith, operations manager at Denes High School, this was an historic occasion, which forms a key part of the school's centenary celebrations.

“This week has been the culmination of a lot work from the youngsters and key members of the project,” Mr Smith said. “This is a statement of intention for the school and it will be a lasting legacy for years to come.”

As part of the Lowestoft Energy Challenge, Poplars Primary School and Lowestoft College were successful in a joint bid to create a website, which will soon be unveiled to the public, and this will feature the new turbine.

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