Tue 23 Sep 2014
Technology has come a long way since I first got elected as a councillor in 1994; it would be 4 years before I owned my first mobile telephone, and very few if any people I knew had an e-mail account, let alone sent e-mails on a regular basis.
Since then technology has advanced so much and become such an important part of our lives that for many of us it is virtually unthinkable to imagine life withot mobile phones, or e-mail or social media.
Enfield council has also benefited greatly from new technology and it is one of these advances that I want to draw your attention to right now.
On 23 July 2014 Enfield Council's Cabinet committee passed a very dull sounding report entitled the Lee Valley Heat Network Business Plan which is the first step in helping Enfield become the first borough in London to make heat that can be used to warm or homes and businesses in Enfield and beyond.
How does the project work? Quite simply, the waste that is produced by local residents which cannot be recycled is compressed into pellets and burnt in an incinerator. The new technology will capture the heat from the burning pellets by capping off the chimney of the incinerator and redirecting the heat down various pipes to new locations. It is intended that these locations will include various Council estates and industrial parks which will enable them to have cheaper heat and hot water and bring about huge energy savings for all concerned.
As well as saving money and being more efficient with our resources, the Heat Network project has the added benefit of creating approximately 1,700 long term jobs. It will also help reduce London's carbon footprint by 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and put Enfield on the map for leading the way with sustainable energy at a time of ever expanding energy consumption. An initial investment of £1.25 million will have to be made get things moving but the sum is fully expected be recouped once everything is up and running.
If enough heat is generated then there is a real possibility that Enfield could be providing cheaper heating and hot water for other London boroughs and this will be very welcome at a time of great concern about fuel costs, energy security, consumption and supply.
The Lee Valley Heat Network project will be the first of it's kind in London and the project would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of some outstanding Council officers and the leadership of senior Councillors including my friend Cllr Alan Sitkin.
Despite the very serious budget situations faced by many councils this project should serve as a reminder that there is still much innovation and many very good things that go on in local government. Long may it continue!
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