Lancashire forest woodchips to power new schools

Woodchips from Lancashire forests will power the boilers at three new school buildings which open next month.

Special biomass boilers are being installed on the sites in Burnley, Nelson, and Padiham as part of Lancashire County Council's £250m Building Schools for the Future programme.

The contract to supply the fuel has been awarded to Bowland Bioenergy which works out of woodland at Downham, near Clitheroe. Timber will also be sourced from forests in Bowland, Ribble Valley, and near Burnley.

Mike Ingoldby, director of Bowland Bioenergy, said: "The woodlands will be re-planted. Lancashire grows enough timber every year to supply the schools easily.

"This is currently our biggest contract but we have interest from around 20 other schools in the North West."

Paul Bullimore, project officer with the county council-funded Lancashire Woodlands Project, said: "We have been giving advice since the start of the BSF project.

"This will enable woods in Lancashire to be better managed, it will create jobs, and it will lower the carbon emissions from schools."

David Snowdon, from the county council's BSF partners Catalyst Lend Lease, said: "Our goal is to set new standards of sustainability with these schools. They are designed, built and equipped for maximum energy efficiency and minimum carbon emissions."

The three sites to open in September are Shuttleworth College on Burnley Road, Padiham; Pendle Vale College and Pendle Community High School on Oxford Road, Nelson; and Burnley Campus on Barden Lane Burnley – home to Thomas Whitham Sixth Form, Barden Primary School, Reedley Hallows Nursery School and Children's Centre, Holly Grove School, Burnley and Pendle Faith Centre, and a public library.

Six more school sites are due to be developed in the next two years.

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