Former mine shafts in Pendle could provide underground heat for homes

Underground heat in former coal mines around Pendle could be used to provide green and affordable warmth for homes and other buildings in future, councillors have been told.

By John Deehan
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 5:48 pm

East Lancashire has dozens of old mine shafts which once produced coal, but could be reopened for new, cleaner and cheaper community energy networks.

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If so, new energy arrangements could reduce dependency on burning fossil fuels, including gas, which send emissions into the atmosphere and are also increasingly expensive.

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Nelson Town Hall

Elsewhere, traditional terraced streets in Pendle could see electric vehicle charging points installed on lamp posts.

Pendle Borough Council is working on a range of climate change projects to boost both the generation and use of sustainable energy.

Ideas include local community energy schemes, which some other Lancashire authorities, such as Lancaster City Council, are investigating too.

Pendle councillors were given an update at the borough’s latest Policy & Resources Committee meeting. Activity includes work on using greener systems to heat homes and buildings and to power vehicles, including providing more electric car charging points.

Conservative Coun Sarah Cockburn-Price is involved with a climate change working group. She highlighted a project in the North-East to use warm underground heat found in coal mines to heat buildings, which had made good progress. In Pendle, old coal mines around Colne were being looked at to see if they too could supply heat for local use.

She said: “There is a lot of activity going on. We think community energy schemes are things that people would get behind. Coal mine shafts can generate energy like ground source heat pumps.

“There are 60 coal shafts in Colne and 30 around Coal Pit Lane. Could we exploit some of those old shafts, to be reopened to create ground source heat energy for Pendle? We have a lot of things to investigate.”

On supporting electric vehicles in Pendle, she said: “Another development is using lamp posts in terraced streets to install charging points for electric cars. 60% of houses in Pendle are terraced houses. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that?”

In the future, electric batteries could become a problem and hydrogen-related energy could become more widespread. The climate working group will look at a range of options and she hoped to get more people involved.

“Most importantly, we can spend our money to help residents,” she emphasised.

She said the Green Party in Pendle had not attended any climate change working group meetings yet but it had been invited.

She also mentioned Lancaster City Council as an authority looking seriously at creating a council or community-owned local energy generation and distribution network. Its ideas include local hubs or clusters of homes or commercial buildings served by local energy, perhaps from ground source heat pumps or solar panels.

Conservative Coun Nadeem Ahmed, who is also leader of Pendle Council, said: “I think this is a really important report. Quite a lot has been done in the past six months and there’s room for more work in the future. with examples of opportunities that could come.”