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A Village Retrofit Energy Solution

The Swaffham Prior Renewable Heat Network

Swaffham Prior Heat Network enables an entire village to move from primary reliance on oil and bottled gas for heating, to centrally distributed heat generated with renewable zero carbon electricity from two large heat pumps. Swaffham Prior is in the Cambridgeshire Fens. Key players in the project have been the Community Land Trust and Cambridgeshire County Council.

As a model it is relevant to Norfolk as the county has more than 100,000 homes which are not connected to the gas grid and will need to get onto renewable sources of energy as the country changes to achieve NetZero.

Swaffham Prior Village. Source: cibsejournal.

Visiting engineers inspect the heat pumps serving the village. These are hidden in a shed near the edge of the village, and use renewable energy. Source: tp-heatnetworks.

Homes like these in Swaffham Prior connect to the heat grid by pipes. Source: cibsejournal.

Relevance To Norfolk – Areas Not On The Gas Grid

This potential solution is particularly relevant to the mainly rural constituencies of North West Norfolk, North Norfolk, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, South Norfolk, Mid Norfolk, and South West Norfolk. A map delineating the relationship between District Council and Westminster constituency boundaries can be found at the end of this post.

Norfolk as a whole is one of the areas in the South East of England least connected to the gas-grid. As such many properties rely on bottled gas, or oil for heating.

The non-gas map, as seen above, shows properties which are not on the gas grid and the data breaks out at MSOA or LSOA level. It seems the Norfolk SOAs with no gas connection total 118,000 properties. These can be related to the map of course, to show where a Swaffham Prior type solution could be particularly interesting in Norfolk, as people have to move from reliance on oil or cylinder gas.

The darker the colour, the fewer homes are gas connected. Hundreds of villages could opt for a Swaffham Prior type renewable solution.

This example shows Broadland District Council area, and the areas where there is lower gas supply.

There is poor access to gas supply in the Great Yarmouth constituency:

Rural areas like South Norfolk District Council, and its respective constituencies, struggle with no gas.

Sadly, it is a similar story for the Breckland District Council area:

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk District Council

North Norfolk District Council

A map showing where parliamentary constituencies and council borders overlap.

By Chris Rose, 2023.

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