A number of local authorities are set to receive additional support from the government in order to help install new heating and cooling networks. 

This could see renewable heating systems provided for a number of local authority buildings in order to cut the cost of annual energy bills, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels and power from the National Grid. 

In order to access the funding, local authorities are required to make ambitious and innovative proposals to deliver heat networks that draw energy from renewable, sustainable and recoverable sources. 

Up to £6 million will be available for local councils, and will be provided for those that signify an intention to use solar heating systems, waste recovery heating systems and biomass combined heat and power. 

Systems such as these are already being utilised in university campuses, newly constructed mixed-use development schemes and high-rise flats. 

Greg Barker, energy and climate change minister, said that increased use in low carbon heat technology will help to reduce dependence on imported gas and oil. 

“Thanks to the coalition government’s support, many UK buildings have already made the switch from traditional fuels to low carbon heat sources. This new grant funding programme builds on these successes by helping Local Authorities develop more commercially viable low carbon heat networks,” he said. 

The bidding process is now open for local authorities, and will be available for the next 18 months. 

Bids will be judged on a number of criteria, such as the potential for commercial development, the contribution to low carbon and energy reduction objectives, compatibility with wider low carbon and growth agendas (where applicable) and a demonstrable commitment to robust project management and governance.

However, if a bid is turned down due to falling below the threshold for funding, despite being a viable development opportunity, the government is expected to provide advice for local authorities on how to improve their applications for a different round of proposals. There will be six rounds in total.