£3.3 million of government funding has been granted to a project which will see homes in an East Cambridgeshire village stop relying on oil and move to renewable heat.

The money for the Swaffham Prior Community Heat Scheme will come from a £30 million government fund to support investment in heat networks.

The funding follows a meeting arranged by Lucy Frazer MP on November 17, when local councillors and others involved in the project explained to the Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, the benefits of the scheme to the community and environment.

MP Lucy Frazer said: "Countering climate change through innovation and investment in green energy projects is one of my highest priorities, so this is spectacular news for our local area.

"The Swaffham Prior Community Heat project shows real promise, and is a credit to everyone involved.

"It could take an entire village off of oil heating, and move it onto a renewable heat source – with no upfront costs for local residents.

"Its success should offer a be a blueprint for other areas, helping to radically reduce emissions, and speed up progress towards the government’s goal of achieving ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.

"This is due to the hard work of the local community including county councillors Joshua Schumann and Steve Count, the chair of the Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust, Emma Fletcher, and Sheryl French from Cambridgeshire County Council.”

In January 2020, the scheme won £232,000 of grant funding to develop and submit a planning application.

At the time, 60 per cent of the village, equivalent to162 households, expressed an interest in signing up to the scheme. It will reduce reliance on a fossil fuel and saving money.

That initial funding was used for legal work on how to set up commercial arrangements, as well as work to develop heat agreements for residents connecting to the scheme.

The project was initiated by Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust which approached Cambridgeshire County Council in 2017.

Following a series of technical studies it was decided that the best option would be to install a ground source heat pump that would pump thermal energy through a network, into homes within the village.

The £232,000 of grant funding from BEIS (the department for business, energy and industrial strategy) Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HDNU) was match-funded by £66,000 from Cambridgeshire County Council.

To find out more about the work, go to the project website: https://heatingswaffhamprior.co.uk/ or email the team at: info@heatingswaffhamprior.co.uk.