UK hydrogen heating trial canceled after residents protestJuly 17, 2023
A Hydrogen Village Pilot intended for Whitby won’t be moving forward.
Whitby, a village in Elsmere Port, was to be used to trial hydrogen heating and become the UK’s first hydrogen-powered community. However, the Hydrogen Village Pilot for the English village has been abandoned due to strong objections from Whitby residents.
The goal was to test the suitability of replacing natural gas with hydrogen for domestic homes.
The natural gas in Whitby was to be switched to pure hydrogen starting from 2025, with the objective to test how suitable it would be to replace natural gas with hydrogen in domestic homes.
According to the BBC, Energy Minister Lord Martin Callanan confirmed that Whitby would not be used as part of gas firm Cadent’s Hydrogen Village Pilot due to safety concerns.
“After listening to the views of residents it’s clear that there is no strong local support,” said Lord Callanan. “Therefore Whitby will no longer be considered as the location for the UK’s first hydrogen village trial.”
The BBC noted that while the UK government has not yet formally announced the cancellation of the residential hydrogen heating trial in Whitby, this is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
The proposed hydrogen heating trial left many Whitby residents feeling like test subjects.
Although not all residents were against the trial, the many that were have been extremely worried about their safety. Some also felt that the trial was being forced upon them without their consent, making them feel like they were being treated like “lab rats”.
“It is clear that asking people to try experimental new forms of energy consumption for their homes will not work unless basic questions about safety, efficacy and cost can be answered from the start,” said Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston.
Madders added that leaving people with the impression that the trial would happen without their consent “sent entirely the wrong message” about how climate change needs to be tackled.
Another trial is planned for Redcar.
Aside from Whitby, another hydrogen heating trial for homes has been proposed for Redcar in Teesside, where the aim will be to install hydrogen boilers in approximately 2,000 homes.
Though this trial is likely to progress, Redcar residents are calling for an independent vote on whether it should go ahead.
If it is given the green light, the Redcar hydrogen heating trail will be carried out by Northern Gas Networks.
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