Energy minister visits Swaffham Prior retrofit project

Energy minister Lord Callanan visited Swaffham Prior on July 15 to learn more about a landmark retrofit scheme

Energy minister Lord Callanan visited Swaffham Prior on July 15 to learn more about a landmark retrofit scheme which will see Swaffham Prior become the first village in the UK to switch off oil and move onto zero-carbon heating. - Credit: CCC

A landmark retrofit scheme which will see Swaffham Prior become the first village in the UK to switch off oil and move onto zero-carbon heating was visited by energy minister, Lord Callanan. 

Lord Callanan visited on July 15 along with Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, to learn more about the scheme and speak to local residents. 

During the visit, the pair were able to see works taking place, starting at the energy centre located on land adjacent to Goodwin Farm off Heath Road, where there are ground source and air source heat pumps that will pump heat to homes in the village. 

Lord Callanan said: “By driving forward new low-carbon technologies like heat networks to warm homes, we can shield households from costly fossil fuels. 

“This innovative, community-led project is breaking new ground and helping hundreds of families in Swaffham Prior with their bills, while showcasing the perks of clean energy to the rest of the country.” 

Swaffham Prior is the first village in the UK to retrofit a renewable heating network into an existing community. 

Currently, most of the residents rely on oil to provide heating and hot water in their homes. The remaining use either electric or other alternative sources. 

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Not only is oil a fossil fuel and carbon intensive, it contributes to local air pollution and makes the village more vulnerable to global challenges. 

The council, working in partnership with Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust, is progressing the project along with its technical partner Bouygues Energies & Services, which is delivering the innovative renewable heat network solution. 

The ambition is to end fuel poverty, reduce dependence on oil and provide cheaper, renewable heating to as many homes as possible, helping the county meet its aim of becoming net zero by 2045. 

Cambridgeshire County Council’s environment and green investment committee chair, Cllr Lorna Dupre, said: “This project was envisioned by local residents. 

“I’m pleased we were able to talk to Lord Callanan and Lucy Frazer MP about the project and show them the works taking place to decarbonise heating in this small village. 

“The county council’s joint administration has big ambitions for the county to achieve net zero carbon by 2045 but we can only do that with our communities. 

“Working in partnership to decarbonise a village like Swaffham Prior will be a template for others to follow.” 

The first homes will be connected to the heat network in the Autumn. 

For more information about the project, visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/swaffham-prior-heat-network.