THREE PUPILS from the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway beat off stiff competition from schools across the Highlands and Islands to emerge as winners of the Big Green Challenge, Scotland's first debating competition for schools tackling renewable energy.
Four teams battled it out in front of a live audience and a panel of top judges on Tuesday night, in what proved to be a nail-biting final in Inverness, hosted by BBC Newsround presenter Laura Jones.
The motion for the final was "Scotland is blessed with some of Europe's best natural resources. It is only right that we fully exploit them". After nearly three hours of debate, during which the teams included poetry, history, science and a touch of humour in their speeches, the judging panel awarded the highest marks to three teenagers from the Nicolson - Miriam Clark, Ruth Walker and Emma Campbell.
All three can now look forward to the prize - a fact-finding trip to Navarre in Spain, which is fast gaining recognition for its renewable energy expertise and where 61 per cent of the region's energy comes from renewable sources.
Ruth Walker, who took the role as speaker for the Nicolson team, said:
"This has been a fantastic competition. The standard of debate has been really high and we're stunned that we've won.
"As we prepared for each of the heats, we learnt a huge amount about renewable energy. It's a really relevant issue that everyone needs to think seriously about."