A LOCAL smallholding is using the power of the wind to help combat rising energy bills.
Willow Farm at Thorpe Fendykes near Wainfleet has installed a 15-metre high wind turbine to help provide a sustainable future for the centre which runs a variety of animal-related courses and qualifications.
The riding school, which is also home to a menagerie of animals including rabbits, goats, reptiles, chickens and ducks, acts as an outreach centre for the College of West Anglia to provide diploma/NVQ courses for children excluded from school or those with learning difficulties and special needs.
It also provides work experience opportunities and courses for people looking to move into animal-related careers.
Former teacher Sue Evans, who has run the farm for nearly 30 years, said: "Our exotic animals, which include geckos, hermit crabs and frogs, need a variety of heat lamps and mats.
"We also need floodlights for the pony yard and our all weather areas so that people can ride in the winter months.
"These are all things we can't change or cut back on, but the farm's energy bills have been going up and up.
"The turbine will be a Godsend in helping us to save on these costs."
The first people to see the benefits of the new turbine were children staying at the farm for riding breaks during school holidays.
Sue said: "The children have been fascinated by the turbine. I think it's incredibly important that the next generation understands the importance of conserving energy and learns about renewable energy for the future.
"Now any children who come to the farm will be able to see firsthand a small scale wind turbine in action."
The turbine was built by Windcrop Ltd, which installs and maintains small turbines free of charge to provide landowners with free green electricity.
The company generates its own return on investment through the Government's Feed in Tariff (Fit) scheme. John Moore, managing director of Windcrop, said: "I'm delighted that we've been able to help such a fantastic venture as Willow Farm.
"The turbine will cut the farm's electricity bills by an average of £500 a year which will really help Sue to continue to provide these valuable educational courses and holidays."