Peebleshire’s Dawyck Garden has become the first carbon neutral botanic garden in the UK.
On Monday, Fergus Ewing, minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, launched a new hydro-electric scheme which will power the gardens’ visitor centre and its annual maintenance.
But it’s not the first time power has been created from water there, for Dawyck House, which along with the 65-acre gardens was once part of Dawyck Estate, was one of the first houses in Scotland to have its own hydro-electricity supply from the Scrape Burn, which ran from the late 19th century until the early 20th century.
The new hydro scheme, which received a £30,000 grant from EDF Energy’s Green Fund, uses the same water source. And any surplus electricity will be sold back to the national grid at times of low demand through the feed-in tariff, creating a welcome new income source for the gardens, say owners Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
Dawyck’s visitor centre is already heated by a sustainable biomass boiler, built in 2008.
Mr Ewing said: “Dawyck Garden is a fantastic example of how different renewable technologies, hydro and the existing biomass boiler, can work in tandem to produce a low-carbon energy mix and help Scotland reach its ambitious national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.”
RBGE regius keeper Simon Milne said: “Having looked at how electricity was generated in Victorian times, we combined past experience with modern technology to create a much more sustainable future for the garden.
“We are thrilled by the prospect of Dawyck being the first carbon neutral botanic garden in the UK.”
The five-star rated VisitScotland attraction receives approximately 30,000 visitors a year and is a past Green Business Tourism Scheme silver award winner.
VisitScotland’s regional director Paula McDonald said: “Dawyck is setting a superb, inspirational example for tourism businesses to follow as they strive towards becoming ‘greener’ for this visitor season.”