How power of the River Wensum could heat city homes

A general view of the River Wensum near to St Edmunds Wharf in Norwich.

The River Wensum in Norwich. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

Water power could be harnessed to keep city homes warm this winter - providing councillors give plans the green light.

Plans would see a state-of-the-art £1.8m heat pump put in the Wensum, providing heating and hot water for 85 homes on Barnards Yard, near Duke Street.

The proposals will be debated by Norwich City Council cabinet on Wednesday, September 8.

Barnard's Yard, Norwich. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Barnard's Yard in Norwich. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

If approved, the current system, which uses natural gas and emits carbon emissions will be removed.

Work would start on the installation at the end of this month and would end in April.

The plans have already been given initial approval by the Environment Agency.

Gail Harris, Labour candidate for Catton Grove in Norwich City Council elections 2016. Pic: Submiite

Norwich City Council member Gail Harris. - Credit: Submitted

Councillor Gail Harris, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for social housing said: “These exciting proposals demonstrate our ongoing commitment to investing in the city’s social housing, and crucially enhancing its environmental credentials.

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“This is a fantastic example of innovation, seeking available funding and working with the Environment Agency to design a system that will benefit residents living in our properties while also reducing carbon emissions.

“It really shows how the city council is leading the way in great, eco-friendly social housing, continuing the legacy of developments such as our award-winning Goldsmith Street properties.”

The pump itself will be powered by renewable electricity and no river water will be mixed with water destined for people's homes.

Jamie Osborn, Green city and county councillor.

Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn. - Credit: Jamie Osborn

Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn, who represents Mancroft ward where Barnards Yard is located, said: “It’s great to see that the council is investing in renewable energy to cut fuel bills for residents and cut carbon.

“It’s extremely important that the council works with residents to minimise disruption to their lives and ensure that the benefits of this scheme are passed on.

“There is a lot more to do to retrofit council housing stock and a strategy is needed to accelerate energy-efficiency and renewable energy installations across the city. Of course, more Government funding is needed to make this a priority but the council can also lead the way in setting a standard for decarbonising housing.”

Barnards Yard residents are being contacted with information about the plans.