£300k funding for scheme to reduce Cambridgeshire village’s oil dependency


A ‘GROUND-BREAKING’ Community Heat Scheme which aims to take the homes of East Cambridgeshire village Swaffham Prior off oil has received almost £300k in funding.

The Heating Shaffham Prior project has won £232,000 of grant funding from BEIS’ Heat Networks Delivery Unit which will be match funded by £66,000 from Cambridgeshire County Council.

“Cambridgeshire County Council is committed to tackling the impacts of Climate Change and is proud to be working with Swaffham Prior on this ground-breaking scheme”, Councillor Josh Schumann, Chairman of the County Council’s Commercial and Investments committee, commented on the news.

”We want this scheme to become a blueprint for other villages keen to reduce their dependency on oil for heating and hot water.”

The funding will be used to develop and submit a planning application for the scheme, for legal work on how to set up the necessary commercial arrangements, as well as work to develop heat agreements for residents connecting to the scheme.

The grant also supports essential project management and work to keep the community updated on the project’s progress.

So far around 60% of the village, around 162 households have expressed an interest in signing up to the scheme, set to begin in March 2021.

The department of Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy has given the project a target of 170-180 homes.

However, the project is keen that even more will sign up in order for residents to reduce their reliance on a fossil fuel and saving themselves money.

The Swaffham Prior scheme is causing something of a sensation and not just in Cambridgeshire, with eco-groups countrywide asking for advice on how to embark on similar schemes.

Government departments interested in combating fuel poverty are also keeping the project under review.

The project was initiated by Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust which approached Cambridgeshire County Council when its Corporate Energy Strategy identified it was keen to work with communities and use its land assets where appropriate to support clean energy projects.

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.

In 2017, Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust and Cambridgeshire County Council initiated a project to bring renewable energy to Swaffham Prior.

Following a series of technical studies, it was decided that a Ground Source Heat Pump, could provide thermal energy to be pumped through a network, into homes within the village.

In March 2019, a grant was received enabling the appointment of a project team.

A connection is planned to be made into homes by March 2021.

Find out more about the project here