The heat is on for village

RESIDENTS of 15 homes in a north Northumberland village will soon have new environmentally-friendly heating systems thanks to a £96,000 grant.

Northumberland County Council was successful in its bid for funding from the Government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme fund for a £192,000 project to convert the heating in a number of the properties which it owns in Longframlington, where there is no mains gas.

Working in partnership with Homes for Northumberland and the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, the council now plans to replace obsolete coal-fuelled Parkray fires with air source heat pumps.

Homes for Northumberland will match fund an additional £96,000 towards the project, as part of its ongoing renewable energy drive. The housing company will be project managing the installation of the air source heat pumps, working closely with tenants.

Coun Tom Brechany, executive member responsible for housing at the county council, said: “I am delighted that the council’s bid was successful – particularly given that only 24 from 125 received funding in the first round, and that we were the only unitary council to be successful.

“The council is working on a number of fronts to address the causes and implications of climate change and the promotion of low-carbon and renewable energy technologies – including the current programme to install solar photovoltaic panels on council homes and buildings.

“I am sure that these heat pumps will make a huge difference to the quality of life of the tenants where they are fitted, and should also lead to lower fuel bills.”

As well as the air source heat pump all properties will receive replacement radiators, a hot water cylinder and pipework. Each home will also be fitted with a multi-fuel stove and immersion heater as back-up sources of heating and hot water.

Homes for Northumberland manages the properties on behalf of the council and the company will be dealing with the installation of the new energy features, due to be completed by the end of March 2012.

Ian Johnson, interim director of property services at Homes for Northumberland, said: “Replacing older, solid fuel heating systems with more efficient, air source heat pumps will make a real difference in the everyday lives of tenants as they are more convenient to run.

“We have sourced the best possible equipment for this project which means that these new heating systems will also be more cost effective and will help to improve the warmth of these homes.

“Homes for Northumberland will be working closely with Narec to carefully monitor and measure the efficiency improvements to these properties as a result of this work. We are delighted to be working alongside Northumberland County Council and Narec on this fantastic project.”