Biomass district heating for a Somerset village

We’re consulting with local householders so they can benefit from a heat network

The Somerset village of Woolavington is in line for a new biomass district heating system that will supply heat to around 300 local homes, and we’re talking to the householders to make sure the system meets their needs.

The heat network is being developed by two local housing associations – SHAL and Homes in Sedgemoor – in partnership with Sedgemoor District Council and Cenergist Ltd. To help with the design and planning, effective community consultation is required, and CSE's energy advisors will be providing this to both the housing association tenants and also to private households who are being encouraged to connect their homes to the network as well.

Michael McClleland is managing CSE's involvement. He said: “The new biomass system will really benefit homes on the estate. Connected properties should have an affordable, sustainable heat source which will be particularly valuable as oil and electricity prices rise."

Biomass systems, especially district heating ones, are few and far between in the UK so the residents are bound to have questions and concerns.

"We want to help local people understand the changes and what it will mean practically and for their energy costs, and to encourage private households to connect their homes to this innovative heating network,” added Michael.

The biomass plant will supply a community of around 300 households on the Woolavington Estate where around 16% of residents are estimated to be in fuel poverty and struggle to pay their energy bills. Many homes score low on the energy efficiency scale (91% are EPC band D or below, compared to 71% nationally), and all are off-gas so depend on more expensive oil, LPG or electric heating.

The consultation event - Thursday 2 June

Residents can drop in throughout the day to speak to CSE advisors who will be available to talk through the project, help with any questions and provide tailored advice on their individual situation. This will include calculations on likely energy and bill savings based on people’s individual circumstances.

There will also be a questions and answers board, anonymous feedback box, general information on biomass systems and their environmental benefits.

A formal presentation will take place in the evening from 6.00pm–7.00pm. This will consist of short talks and a panel question and answer session with CSE, Cenergist, Sedgemoor Council and housing association representatives.

The Energy Café - Tuesday 7 June

This is opportunity for residents to drop in to have some tea and cake, and talk through what the scheme will mean for them. Social housing tenants will receive invites from their housing providers, but all estate residents are welcome to attend.

Tenants can also ring 0800 038 5688 (freephone) to speak to a CSE advisor about any concerns and for support in transitioning to the new heating system, or email

How will biomass benefit the community?

This is the story of an an estate in Barnsley, Yorkshire, that had a district heating system installed. Watch from 05:56 for the tenants' thoughts.

This film was made by CSE around five years ago as part of PlanLoCaL.

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