Leading UK housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has won planning approval for its pioneering heating network at its Chilton Woods development.

Taylor Wimpey's scheme will create a sustainable heating network that will eliminate the need for gas boilers at all future phases of its Chilton Woods development in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Taylor Wimpey is working in partnership with utility provider GTC to create a community heat hub that will use large-scale air source heat pumps to supply homes with heat and hot water.

Carbon emissions will be reduced by around 80% compared to traditional gas heating.

International law firm Osborne Clarke advised Taylor Wimpey on the project with a team led by energy & projects partner and head of heat, Simon Hobday.  The team also included energy & projects senior associate Shraiya Thapa and real estate associate director Donal Kelly.

David Pelle, Land and Planning Director for Taylor Wimpey London, said: "This forward-thinking approach to heating our homes is a significant landmark for Taylor Wimpey and we are grateful to Osborne Clarke for their excellent legal advice, which helped make the process as smooth as possible."
Simon Hobday  commented: "We are very proud to be the legal adviser on this important development which will be a blueprint for future low density district heating schemes across the UK.

"The Osborne Clarke team has been advising on district heating for over 15 years but this is the first large scale low density housing scheme which uses centralised air source heat pumps to provide low carbon energy.  It is also just one of the innovative decarbonisation solutions which will be needed if the country is to reach net zero carbon."

Networks of this kind are rarely used on low-rise housing developments and Taylor Wimpey anticipates that the heating network at Chilton Woods will act as a low-carbon solution that may be used elsewhere around the country.

Stephen Andrew, Group Technical Director at Taylor Wimpey, said: “As we move towards the Future Homes Standard (FHS) in 2025 and the introduction of low carbon heating with no natural gas, the network heat pump offers an innovative solution to meet FHS. 

“Whilst this was previously used in dense high rise apartment schemes, this pioneering approach offers the opportunity to provide community heating to other types of residential developments, including family homes.”

Osborne Clarke has an established position as one of the leading law firms advising on sustainable energy projects including district heating. As businesses strive to meet the challenges of decarbonisation, Osborne Clarke supports its clients on projects to procure, fund and develop the sustainable infrastructure, buildings and land use of the future. The team’s experience and understanding of the energy sector means they are well placed to advise companies on low carbon projects to help the UK reach its net zero objective.

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