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St Andrews plans carbon-neutral university

Plans for Scotland’s oldest university to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral institution came a step closer this week, The Scotsman has reported.

The University of St Andrews is to invest £25m to create a green energy centre at the home of Curtis Fine Papers in Guardbridge, Fife.

It has been given planning consent in principle to convert the mill into a sustainable power and research campus, which will help make it the first carbon-neutral university in the UK.

The new campus will include teaching and research facilities for the renewable energy industry, and will also be prompted for use by private business in the same field.

Fife Council’s north-east planning committee unanimously approved the plan and granted full consent for formation of a biomass plant - which will burn locally sourced woodchips - to feed a district heating water system and an underground network of pipes, which will carry the hot water four miles to the university’s buildings in St Andrews.

Together with six wind turbines it plans to build near Boarhills the green energy centre will allow the university to reduce its soaring energy bill,which it says poses a major threat to investment in teaching and research. It hopes to become carbon neutral by 2016.

Councillors asked for further information on where the woodchips to feed the biomass boiler would come from for assurance about their sustainability.

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