A new source of cheap, environmentally friendly heating could one day be available to local residents after Cheshire East Council was named as one of 24 local authorities which will be given public money for the development of a new heat network project.

A total of £1.5 million will be shared out to help develop low-carbon heat projects which will potentially lower energy bills in local areas, tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.

The heat used by these networks are taken from places like rivers or mine water; biomass; waste or recovered heat.  Low carbon heating is then provided to buildings through a system of insulated pipes carrying hot water.

In a related announcement during the next Spending Review, the government will also provide over £300m of capital funding to support up to 200 new heat networks.

Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lord Bourne said:

“The money that has been given to Cheshire East Council is part of a push to change the way that communities heat their homes, businesses and hospitals – using wasted heat to warm buildings, cut bills and reduce carbon emissions.

“It is also an excellent example of how local people can work together with government to boost jobs and investment in their area.”

Experts believe the networks have the potential to supply heat to between 14% and 43% of UK buildings by 2050. They currently provide less than two per cent. However, in Finland and Denmark, where the technology has been developed, district heating is the dominant heat source, accounting for 49% and 60% of total heat supply respectively.

The council’s bid for the funding was reviewed by a panel of engineering, financial and commercial experts with experience in heat network development.