Work has began on the second phase of Stoke-on-Trent's innovative District Heat Network - a scheme that will provide the city with sustainable heating.

The second phase of Stoke-on-Trent's District Heat Network (DHN) was welcomed last week, with local leaders and students from Stoke-on-Trent College's Urban Heat Academy attending a ceremony to mark the latest installation.

The next stage of the DHN project (led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council) will follow-up on work that was carried out earlier this year - when 2km of  pipework were installed, covering Leek Road, Boughey Road and Ashford Street. The second stage of the visionary project will see a further 1.4km of pipework being installed under College Road, Shelton.

Sustainable energy specialist, Vital Energi (based in the UK), is carrying out this second phase of work, which is expected to take thirty weeks to complete.

In addition to providing Stoke-on-Trent businesses and homes with cleaner, greener energy, the scheme will also provide young engineers with a valuable opportunity to learn the latest industry skills.

Councilor Carl Edwards, Cabinet Member for the Environment, helped to break the ground on the project. He commented:

"This network is all about providing sustainable, cleaner and greener energy to power our city for generations to come. We're a forward looking city, and we are committed to doing all we can to protect and improve our environment. It's a pioneering initiative - nowhere else in the country is developing a heat network with the ambition and scope that we are underway with."

"Careful mapping of our city's geology has shown us that there is geothermal energy under Stoke-on-Trent, and the deep seam coal mining of the past has helped us to identify its source. It is serendipitous that our energy source of the past could help us in powering our city for the future. Our plans for the network are that it will eventually go on to be powered by these hot underground rocks."

Stoke-on-Trent College's Urban Heat Academy will work with contractors and employers involved in the design, installation, management and maintenance of the District Heat Network to provide apprenticeships and work-related training.

Ryan Johnson, Campus Director at Stoke on Trent College, said:

"As the UK focuses on renewable energy, projects like the District Heat Networks will create new jobs and an opportunity for young people to skill up in new areas of construction."

Vital Energi will be employing a local apprentice, from the College's Urban Heat Academy, who will be working on the scheme via day release for the duration of the contract works. Ashley Walsh, Vital Energi's Operations Director (Infrastructure) said,  "Projects like this can offer fantastic opportunities to deliver community benefits such as employment and training to local people and we are delighted to be working on such a visionary scheme. "

The district heat network is a multi-million pound program that has attracted funding from central government and support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (S&SLEP).

Alun Rogers, Acting-Chair of the LEP, added:

"The district heat network is one of our flagship projects. We are a pioneering area in terms of green energy development - improving our environment and bringing wider economic benefits."

There will continue to be traffic management in place in College Road until the works are completed. Motorists will be able to continue to travel north on the road, from the direction of the train station towards the city centre, with south-bound traffic taking a short diversion on to Avenue Road and City Road. Motorists and businesses are thanked for their patience and co-operation while the works take place.

Edited by Josh Heath


District Heat Network
Development Site
District Heat Network

In 2015, Stoke-on-Trent City Council was successful in securing £19.75m of funding to help to deliver the infrastructure for a low carbon District Heat Network (DHN).