Cambridgeshire village one step closer to community heat scheme

PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 December 2018

The Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust (SPCLT) was set up by members of the village to deliver housing. A low carbon community heat scheme wil nowl enable a Cambridgeshire village to stop relying on oil and move to a renewable heat source. Picture: SWAFFHAM PRIOR PARISH COUNCIL.

The Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust (SPCLT) was set up by members of the village to deliver housing. A low carbon community heat scheme wil nowl enable a Cambridgeshire village to stop relying on oil and move to a renewable heat source. Picture: SWAFFHAM PRIOR PARISH COUNCIL.

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A low carbon community heat scheme that which will enable a Cambridgeshire village to stop relying on oil and move to a renewable heat source has got the green light to move to the next stage.

The proposed project in Swaffham Prior will be one of the first of its kind in the country and will act as a pilot project for both the government and similar areas looking to convert to sustainable heat systems.

The scheme will enable the village to stop relying on oil and move to a renewable heat source for heating and hot water needs.

The Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust (SPCLT) first approached Cambridgeshire County Council in 2017 for support.

A study suggested that a district heat network with an energy centre, which has a combination of heat being extracted from groundwater and mains gas, would be the most viable option.

The commercial and investment committee will now progress with the development of a detailed business case.

Cllr Josh Schumann, chair of the committee, said: “The committee approved development of the important next stages of this project, which could support the village in moving away from relying on oil and onto a renewable energy through heat extracted from ground water.

“What excites me is the knowledge that by 2021 the village could own its own heating system and not be vulnerable to fluctuating global prices of oil that the residents are currently tied to.

“Boreholes to test the ground water could be drilled as early as next year, which is a vital next step for the project. We will also need access to homes to identify what is needed in the home to connect to the community heat network.”

The next step of developing a business case for the project will look at detailed financing options, scheme design and procurement strategy.

Cllr David Greenfield, member of the community land trust and vice-chairman of the Swaffham Prior Parish Council, said: “The project is important for the village but it is also of strategic importance to communities that are off the gas grid and are looking for ways to move from oil based heating to a more sustainable, low carbon options that are also therefore less susceptible to price fluctuations and fuel security issues.”

Further details about the scheme can be found here: http://www.swaffham-prior.org.uk/pc/CLT.html

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