Swaffham Prior is the first village in the UK to retrofit a renewable heating network into an existing community. The landmark retrofit scheme, which secured more than £3.2 million of Heat Networks Investment Project funding, will transition the village from oil onto zero-carbon heating. 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. Oil is not only a fossil fuel and carbon intensive, but it also contributes to local air pollution and makes the village more vulnerable to global challenges that can contribute to shortages and inflated oil prices.
The launch of the project was visited by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Callanan. During the visit, Lord Callanan and MP Lucy Frazer were able to see works taking place to deliver the heat network through the village, 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 be used to pump heat to the homes in Swaffham Prior.
Minister for Business and Energy 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.”
Lauren Bright, Relationship Director at Triple Point Heat Networks, attended the launch and said, “It was fantastic to join Lord Callanan on the tour to see the progress being made at Swaffham Prior and we are delighted to see how HNIP funding is being used to deliver low carbon heating to an off-gas village. It is always a great privilege to speak to the teams behind these exciting schemes and its incredible to see the villagers engaged and excited to talk to us about the scheme that they are rightly proud of.”
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. Swaffham Prior isn’t connected to the gas grid and 70% of homes rely on burning oil for heating. The first homes will be connected to the heat network in the Autumn 2022.
Councillor Lorna Dupré, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee chair, said: “This project was envisioned by local residents and is the first of its kind in the country. We really are leading the way in Cambridgeshire and for the UK. I am 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. This scheme aims not only to reduce carbon emissions, but also to support residents against rising fuel bills in the future. The county council’s Joint Administration has big ambitions for the county to achieve net zero carbon by 2045. We can only do that with our communities, and working in partnership to decarbonise a village like Swaffham Prior will be a template for others to follow.”
MP Lucy Frazer said: “Cambridgeshire is leading the way with this community project to bring renewable energy to hundreds of homes across the village of Swaffham Prior. This innovative scheme could be a trailblazer for similar projects across the country as we increase our domestic energy security. I was pleased to be able to support the project to access Government funding. Thank you to Lord Callanan for coming to visit the site of this exciting new scheme. “
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 this innovative renewable heat network solution.
For more information about the project, including how to sign up, visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/swaffham-prior-heat-network
For more information about the HNIP funding award, visit: https://tp-heatnetworks.org/hnip-funding-awarded-to-first-community-renewable-heating-project/