Thousands of people to get heating and hot water powered by rubbish from £16m recycling centre

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

Thousands of people will soon get their heating and hot water powered by rubbish, under a £16million council plan.

Southwark council has announced its intention to add more than 3,000 homes in the borough to the South-East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) network, which generates energy waste from its recycling centre in Landmann way, Bermondsey.

People living in council homes around the Old Kent Road and north Peckham, including residents of the redeveloped Tustin and Ledbury estates, would in the future receive their energy from the heat network, under the plans.

About 2,650 homes in Bermondsey already have their heating and hot water powered by the SELCHP plant, which saves 7,700 tonnes of carbon every year, according to Southwark council.

Officials believe adding thousands of new homes, as well as schools and businesses to the heat network, could help the council cut an extra 11,100 tonnes of carbon each year.

Veolia, which has the contract for the heat network, is bankrolling the £16million extension, but there are fears this cost will be passed on in heating bills.

Works to connect homes to the SELCHP network could begin as early as the coming winter.

During consultation on the planned extension, some residents raised concerns that leaseholders could struggle to foot the bill for the heat network’s extension during a cost of living crisis.

When the original SELCHP network was completed in 2014, the cost of laying the pipes for the project was rolled into the cost of heating over a 20-year period.

Labour-led Southwark council’s cabinet approved the extension at a meeting yesterday.

Councillor Helen Dennis said: “We have a very significant commitment across the borough to becoming carbon neutral and to reducing carbon emissions.

“A significant amount of our carbon emissions come from heating and hot water so there has been a lot of work across the borough to look at how we can reduce emissions and move over to low carbon and sustainable sources. One of the really key planks of our strategy is to extend SELCHP.”

Pictured top: The SELCHP plant in Bermondsey (Picture: Google Street View)

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