Shortly before finishing for the much anticipated summer holidays, children at Ardross Primary School took the opportunity to visit nearby Fyrish substation, a site under construction near Alness.

Employees from both Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (SHE Transmission) and their delivery partner Siemens BAM had the privilege of welcoming the entire school to the site; giving pupils an introduction into the work involved to construct a new substation that will help boost the resilience of the area’s electricity supply and enable renewable generators to connect in to the grid.

After a short safety induction to the site and a presentation about electricity, the children spent some time outside to see how SHE Transmission carefully considers the protection and improvement of the environment when working on its projects. Pupils were shown “bird scarers” that aim to deter birds from nesting in certain areas on site for their safety; learned about water management and the new sustainable drainage system (SuDS) pool; and were shown how SHE Transmission had taken and stored the soils from an existing pond on site until the area was ready for a new pond to be rebuilt with the original material.

Andy McLaren, Project Manager for SHE Transmission said: “One of the most rewarding aspects of working on a project like this is having the opportunity to welcome members of the local community to visit and appreciate the scale of the construction activity going on in their area.

“It was refreshing to see how interested the pupils from Ardross Primary School were in the environmental aspects of the construction, taking water samples and readings to check for pollution that could potentially be harmful to local wildlife. The highlight of the day for me personally was watching the children have the opportunity to sit in one of the diggers on site and have their picture taken. Some of them even commented they would love to work on a similar site when they grow up – that feedback is encouraging for us at SHE Transmission.”

The pupils were escorted around the site, looking at the transmission towers, plant, machinery and overhead lines. Following their visit, the children drew pictures of what they enjoyed most during the day, and wrote to the team at Fyrish to thank them for taking the time to show them around.

Grace (Primary 7) wrote: “Thank you for our wonderful visit. We all enjoyed it so much! Personally, I loved all of the presentation showing what the site used to look like and then the building work on top of that.

“It’s so inspiring that Heather the ecologist makes sure the water leaving the site is clean and no chemicals or anything that could harm animals are in the water. She also makes sure birds or animals don’t come and nest on site because it’s a very busy place to be and they might get injured. It’s amazing that she, on the other hand, protects nesting birds in the nearby area. I would actually like to work on a building site; it would be quite fun and exciting.”

The Fyrish substation, which is being constructed by SHE Transmission and Siemens BAM was commended earlier this year with a Bronze Award from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS). It forms part of a larger project to reinforce the existing electricity transmission network between Dounreay, Caithness and Beauly.

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