Ellie Ames 18 September 2023

‘Landmark’ green energy network gains pace in Bradford

‘Landmark’ green energy network gains pace in Bradford image
Image: https://bradford.energy

Plans have progressed for a district heat network in Bradford, which developers say will be the largest of its kind in the UK.

A planning application for the construction of an energy centre was approved by Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee on 15 September.

The centre will use air source heat pumps to provide heat energy to buildings connected by a network of underground pipes.

Project developers 1Energy said that while the construction of the pipe network was already underway, the council’s decision allowed them to press ahead with the energy centre.

1Energy executive director Jeremy Bungey said the network would be a ‘landmark project not only for Bradford, but also the UK’.

‘Bradford will be the country’s first major city centre to have a low-carbon heat network that utilises an air source heat pump at this scale’, he added.

Public buildings will be connected to the energy network first, but businesses and residents could benefit as the network expands, Bradford Council said.

£40m for the project’s first phase will come from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Green Heat Network Fund as well as investment from 1Energy.

Bradford Council had planned for the land to be used for housing but concluded that the benefits provided by the energy centre would outweigh the loss of the residential development.

A council spokesperson said the planning approval was key ‘to realising the council’s ambitions to establish a district heat network, reduce carbon emissions from buildings which may be connected through it, and further improve air quality in the city centre, while supporting the recently established clean air zone.’

Construction was approved subject to the completion of the S106 agreement, involving £20,000 towards improvements to Bradford Beck and a £12,750 biodiversity net gain contribution, and with recommended conditions.

The heat pumps will be supplemented by gas boilers, which 1Energy expects to initially supply 10-15% of the network’s heat demand.

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