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A renewable energy project to supply heat to homes in a Cambridgeshire village by using ground water instead of oil has received a major boost with a £100,300 grant.

Cambridgeshire County Council has helped to develop the Swaffham Prior Community Heat Project, which has been awarded the money by the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to support the drilling of a borehole 150 metres deep to establish if ground water can supply renewable heat for the village.

This grant will bring the village closer to moving away from oil and towards owning their own renewable low carbon heating system.

The aim of the project is to remove all oil tanks and connect homes into renewable energy that will heat the home.

At the same time, funding will also be used to work with residents in assessing heating systems in homes for suitability to connect to the heat scheme.

Residents will also be able to learn more about the project and the future cost of heating their homes, as well as how the community scheme can bring benefits to the community and the environment.

The council has been working with the Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust to develop the project.

Land from the county’s rural estate has been identified that can host the energy centre, which will comprise of a ground source heat pump and gas boiler attached to the community heating network.

This is the third grant that the community has secured for the project, showing the resourcefulness and determination of the community to find a solution to reduce their dependency on oil, which is expensive and has a negative impact on the environment.

There will be no upfront charge to residents signing up early to the scheme, and the project team are working to ensure that ongoing costs will not be higher than the average current monthly energy oil costs for each household.

If successful, the project will be one of the first of its kind in the UK and has the potential to be replicated across Cambridgeshire in other oil dependent villages.

Sheryl French, Project Director for Energy Investment Unit, Growth and Economy, said: “I am delighted that this scheme has been awarded the funding which will support the next stages of this important project.

 “This will hopefully bring us closer to finding a way to move from oil heating, which is expensive and environmentally damaging, to a new heat scheme which better serves the community of Swaffham Prior and will hopefully pave the way for similar schemes throughout the county.”

 Work is currently underway with homeowners, the school, and the pub, for the fitting of heat meters to understand how much heating is needed for current and future heating demands in the village.

If you are a Swaffham Prior resident and would like a heat meter fitted, completely free of charge, please contact [email protected].

The project team are currently working to the deadline of March 2021 to get the first property fitted to the heat scheme.

This is to meet the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) deadline, a government financial incentive for promoting renewable heat systems.

Further details about the scheme, in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions document, can be found on the Swaffham Prior Parish Council website.


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