Study will explore feasibility of new heat system for town

A joint study by North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton District Council is looking at whether Northallerton is suitable for a scheme that could produce cheaper and cleaner energy.

Northallerton high street

The two authorities have secured £33,500 from the Government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit to undertake initial technical studies into the feasibility of a district heating scheme in the town.

District heating systems produce steam, hot water or chilled water at a central energy centre. The steam or water is distributed through an insulated pipework network to individual buildings for heating, domestic hot water and air conditioning. As a result, buildings served by the system don’t need their own boilers or chillers.

Northallerton has been chosen for the pilot study because of its concentration of public sector agencies, its compact urban area and the opportunity to connect to proposed new developments, such as the redevelopment of the former prison site.

The initial research, which is expected to take about nine months, will identify Northallerton’s energy needs and the appropriate heat network strategy for the town. Consultants will make technical assessments and speak to local stakeholders. There will be no physical works or excavations as part of this study. Evidence gathered will establish whether a district heating scheme would be feasible and what further work would be necessary to develop a network.

District heat networks can provide benefits including:

  • affordable heat at potentially 30% of conventional heating costs;
  • de-carbonisation of the energy sector;
  • growth and diversification of the local energy sector;
  • incentives for investment and economic growth;
  • support for sustainable growth and vital and viable communities; and
  • contributing to local energy resilience and sourcing.

The Government is promoting a move to heat networks as part of its decarbonisation strategy. The County Council’s Economic Growth Plan supports low-carbon energy generation and the development of sustainable local communities.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Open to Business, said: “This is an exciting opportunity. We are strongly committed to improving the environment for our residents and businesses. District heating could complement the county’s large-scale energy generation capabilities, providing local solutions and energy resilience for our communities.

“We believe local communities and businesses should have access to affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly energy to help meet their needs and to encourage investment and sustainable growth. If this proves successful, it could be a trailblazer for other schemes within the county.”

Hambleton District Councillor Peter Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Finance, said: “Hambleton District Council has already taken significant strides towards reducing CO2 emissions in the district, with almost a 10% reduction since 2005. However, we have higher levels of fuel poverty than other parts of the county and we are above the national average.

“The District Council aims to reduce fuel poverty through partnership working with organisations such as the County Council. The Heat Networks Delivery Unit funding will give us an opportunity to investigate new and innovative ways of achieving this for the benefit of our community.”

This story was published 10 April 2018