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Primary school becomes first in Britain to be powered by geothermal energy

A village primary school is set to become the first in Britain to be powered by a thermal underground spring that was used by the Romans.

The ancient spring at Taff's Well near Cardiff will provide enough geothermal energy to power lights and computers at Ffynnon Taf Primary School and will also help to cook school dinners for 200 pupils.

Engineers will harness the warm waters of the spring at Taff's Well, which runs at a constant 21C and is the only thermal spring in Wales.

It will replace the current gas heating system at the nearby primary school - to save cash and cut down on 37 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

Engineers will harness the warm waters of the Taff's Well spring to replace the gas system at the nearby Ffynnon Taf Primary School

The Taff's Well spring runs at a constant 21C and is the only thermal spring in the whole of Wales

The spring bubbles up on the banks of the River Taff and is said to have been popular with the Romans over 2,000 years ago when they settled in Wales.

It is currently housed within a Grade II-listed building.

Local councillor Jill Bonetto said: 'We think it is the first school in the country to be powered by a spring - we certainly haven't heard of it happening anywhere else.

'The school will also have solar panels on the roof so they can replace the gas - it will effectively become an eco school.

'It will be great for the children to learn about how the energy is produced from the spring which is around 5,000 years old.'

Cllr Bonetto said the idea for using the spring came from a geologist who was a member of Friends of Taffs Well Park - who thought the park pavilion could be powered by the energy.

The spring will provide enough geothermal energy to power lights and computers at Ffynnon Taf Primary School

She said: 'We had a feasibility study carried out and it showed it had the ability to power more than just the park and could be used for the school as well.

'It's a beautiful park and we're very proud of it so I hope more people come to visit it because of the spring.'

In the 19th century the site was popular for its reputed healing properties.

The Victorians believed the well could heal rheumatism and visitors arrived in the village in large numbers to cure their diseases.

Popular with the Romans 2,000 years ago, the spring was also famous for its healing waters in Victorian Britain

Council leaders in Rhondda Cynon Taff are being asked to approve a £300,000 scheme.

Consultants say there is more than sufficient heat in the spring to meet demand from the school and pavilion and that switching the school and pavilion to thermal energy could save 37 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

A spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taff Council said: 'We are extremely lucky to have the only thermal spring in Wales at the village of Taff's Well.

'As well as being a valuable tourist draw, the Council is now investigating an innovative opportunity to use this natural wonder to help save the environment around us.

'Cabinet will this week discuss plans for the thermal spring to heat two nearby Council buildings - including replacing the gas-fired heating at a local primary school.

'This is a remarkable green initiative at the heart of our climate change drive, using Wales' only natural spring to help prevent tonnes of carbon dioxide from being produced.'