£1.6m for coal mine study

A STUDY to test the potential for former coal mines to be used to heat homes has been given £1.6 million in funding.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris announced the study, backed by the government’s Coal Authority and Historic England, to see if water warmed naturally deep underground in old mine workings by geological activity can be brought to the surface to provide viable domestic heat.

The process would involve using pumps to raise the temperature to the level required for heating and hot water.

In late 2022 South Gloucestershire Council said it was investigating the potential use of former mine workings in the district, including mines around Lyde Green, Emersons Green and south of Staple Hill, which had been identified as “areas of interest” by the Coal Authority.

Now Mr Norris has announced funding to see if the idea can be turned into reality.

He says there is the potential to heat more than 100,000 homes in the region, where almost a quarter sit above once-thriving coal mines flooded with water.

Mr Norris said: “I love the idea that coal mines could be repurposed to provide the clean energy of the future – it’s coming full circle.

The study will map the mine areas which have the greatest potential heat resource, leading to detailed ground investigation works.

Coal Authority head of heat Gareth Farr said: “The Coal Authority is committed to facilitating mine water heat networks across Great Britain.  

“We hope that the industrial heritage of coal mining in the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority will also be able to support mine water heat networks in the future.”