Swaffham Prior

The traditional Cambridgeshire village of Swaffham Prior is undergoing an energy transformation with the creation of a sustainable heat network.

Project to connect
residents to renewable thermal energy


Our Aim

Removing reliance on oil heating to support a sustainable future and end fuel poverty.

Our Story

Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust and Cambridgeshire County Council are working together to offer a green heating alternative to oil in the traditional Cambridgeshire village of Swaffham Prior. The Heating Swaffham Prior project aims to end fuel poverty, remove dependence on oil, and introduce cheaper renewable heating to as many homes as possible.

Currently, around 70% of properties in the village – which isn’t connected to the gas grid – depend on oil for their heating. This is both unsustainable and expensive. By using ground source and air source heat pumps with electric boiler back up, sustainable thermal energy can be pumped into homes across Swaffham Prior, and more than half of residents have already signed up to the scheme.

The project has been in development since May 2017, with planning permission received in 2020. Construction of an energy centre is already underway, and the first homes are set to be connected to the network in March 2022. The £9M project is being funded with a combination of grants from Cambridgeshire County Council, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and other partners.

The heat network will use a closed-loop ground source heat pump to warm liquid which is delivered to homes and community buildings. This works by taking heat directly from the earth itself – pipes filled with a mixture of water and antifreeze fluid are placed in boreholes and heated by energy from the ground. This fluid then passes through an electronic heat pump to raise the temperature of the liquid further before it is distributed via a network of pipes around the village.

It is hoped that this groundbreaking project will not only have a significant positive impact on Swaffham Prior but will act as a blueprint for 10,000 homes in Cambridgeshire that are currently reliant on oil.

Read more: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk