Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seeds sown for new community orchard

Pupils from West Kilbride Primary School joined volunteers from the wider community, West Kilbride Environment Group and the Western Link project to start planting fruit trees in a new community orchard.

The orchard, established in Kirktonhall Glen by West Kilbride Environment Group in 2007, is being developed to include more fruit trees and areas of wildflower meadow. 

“We’ve been keen to develop the orchard further for a while, but we’ve just not had the funds to do so,” said Environment Group Treasurer Bill Cleeve.  “So we approached the Western Link project and were delighted when they said they could help us.

“We’ll be planting twenty varieties of Scottish Heritage apple trees, and also creating areas of wildflower meadow.  Wildflowers are not only beautiful in their own right, but the insects they encourage help ensure a good fruit crop.”

Around forty people attended the initial planting day.  Niall Armstrong, Project Manager for the Western Link project’s Hunterston converter station, said: “We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to work with the local community to support such a worthwhile project. 

“It was a great day, well attended by the community.  We all worked really hard, spurred on by the West Kilbride Primary School pupils, who were really enthusiastic.  We’re looking forward to seeing the work completed - and hopefully sampling the benefits of the planting in the years to come!”

The community orchard is one of a number of local groups and schools supported by Western Link during the construction of Hunterston converter station. 

Niall Armstrong explained: “We’ve donated funds to Fairlie Primary School Parent Council, which has allowed them to purchase some iPads for the school.  We’ve also worked with Auchenharvie Academy, providing interview training to help prepare students for the world of work, and explained the potential work opportunities at ScottishPower during an ‘Employability Day’. 

“Our main contractors on the Western Link project, Siemens and Prysmian Group, have supported the West Kilbride Football Club by providing new football kit.”


The £1 billion Western Link project is a joint venture between National Grid and ScottishPower Transmission.  When complete, it will bring renewable energy from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales and help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets.

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