The heat is on

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DISTRICT planners have given unanimous approval for the installation of pipes to transfer surplus heat from Sleaford’s renewable energy plant to community facilities in the town, including Sleaford Leisure Centre.

The consent from North Kesteven District Council’s planning committee means that once power generation begins at the £150 million Eco2 renewable energy plant – projected to be late next year – surplus heat will be available for use by Sleaford Town Football Club, Sleaford Indoor Bowling Club and the leisure centre on East Banks.

A district heating pipe will be installed from the plant at Boston Road, to transfer the low carbon renewable heat direct to the premises as hot water, potentially saving each one thousands of pounds per year over the next 25 years.

The heat will be generated as a by-product of the burning of straw, with provision for wood to be burnt in the event of straw supplies being insufficient or damp.

It has been offered under a package of seven community benefits undertaken voluntarily by Eco2, with proposals for a further two community facilities to be added later.

A further community benefit is the provision of five two-year apprenticeships as part of the construction phase, with scope for a further three once generation begins.

The plant is expected to create 80 jobs, which the council says fits the aims of the Sleaford Masterplan, a 25-year plan to transform Sleaford, including sustainable measures to retain and expand Sleaford’s employment base and enhance leisure amenities.

Council leader Coun Marion Brighton said: “This decision marks the first step in delivering a key area of the Sleaford Masterplan.

“The transfer of free heat will benefit all residents in Sleaford and the surrounding areas, as well as visitors to the town’s leisure facilities.

“It is part of a significant package of benefits, which includes in excess of £200,000 of fresh investment to support our long-term plans to make the district a more sustainable place to live.”

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