BAN Waste Select Committee evidence

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Phase 1 Day 8 2001-10-29 Chris Mills (Newcastle City Council, Community and Housing Directorate, Capital Investment Manager)

written evidence submitted in advance

Chris Mills BA Hons - biographical note

Capital Investment Manager, Community and Housing Directorate, Newcastle City Council

Chris Mills has worked on Inner City Regeneration in the North East since 1978 working for the Government's Comprehensive Community Programme at Gateshead MBC before joining Newcastle's Housing Department in 1980. Chris has led Inner City and Estate Regeneration Projects ranging from the establishment of key initiatives such as Community Security Projects and Concierge Security for multi-storey flats. He has promoted the involvement of youth training in schemes including the award winning Community Action Training Initiative (CATI) a scheme where young people provide decorating and gardening services for elderly and disabled people. He leads the City's Energy Efficiency drive for Housing and played a key role in the City's Energy and the Urban Environment report founded by the European Commission. Chris is the lead officer on the Home Energy Conservation Act Strategy.

In his role as Capital Investment Manager Chris is responsible for planning and delivering investment in all tenures which includes working with residents, housing associations and landlords to improve housing neighbourhoods. His Section plays a lead role in the City's many regeneration initiatives and programmes.

Chris is on the Steering Committee of the national Building Research Housing Group - a national body seeking solutions and promoting best practice with housing providers and the Building Research Establishment. He has led the development and implementation of the Byker Combined Heat and Power Strategy since 1985.

Evidence on Byker Combined Heat and Power Strategy

Report by: Capital Investment Manager
Ward Implications: Byker
For Consideration

1. The Byker Development was built with district heating which at first fired from Shipley Street and subsequently from Walbrook Terrace when Tyne and Wear County Council built the Reclamation Plant and Heat Station.

2. Strategy Review

The City Council reviewed its strategy for Byker District Heating in 1986 and 1987 and commissioned consultants to report on the best way forward for District Heating. This review arose from concerns that the District Heating network was becoming increasingly unreliable, that the heat station itself was burning waste derived fuel sporadically and the concerns of residents were the unreliable and costly service. The review considered the options of transferring all houses to individual gas central heating, group heating boilers and refurbishing the District heating network and heat supply arrangements. As a result of the reports, significant changes were introduced:

  1. a contract was let after tender to Energy Supplies Ltd. to run the waste derived fuel heat station to develop it into a Combined Heat and Power Plant;
  2. a major programme of mains renewals and improvements to heating sub-stations was started;
  3. energy management systems for Byker District Heating Network were installed and overhauled;
  4. the price that residents paid for heat and hot water has been held at its 1986 level.
  5. Group heating boilers were provided for 3 areas - Janet Croft, Janet Square and Ayton Street.

The majority of the initial funding of the major improvement Capital Works came from the Department of Environments Green House Energy Efficiency Programme which aimed to reduce Carbon Dioxide and Green House Gas Emissions.

3. District Heating Network Renewal

The Programme was successfully implemented for the network renewal with the final phase of improvements going on site in December. A Byker District Heating team was established on the Estate to run the maintenance service and to monitor with a new computerised energy management system. As a result of these initiatives the network reliability increased substantially and the heat losses from the network were reduced. Both served to keep the cost of heat to residents down.

4. Byker CHP Plant

The contract for the Heat Station was based on burning waste derived fuel to provide heat for the DH network and to generate electricity from Combined heat and power. This arrangement was made commercially viable through the Non Fossil Fuel Agreement for which Refuse Derived Fuel burning qualified. The Contractor provided new boilers, turbines, cooling and waste gas cleaning equipment to fulfil the contract.

The Byker CHP Plant was seen nationally and internationally as a model of urban good practice with City handling its waste and generating heat and energy from waste derived fuel - a well developed model across Europe. The Contract with Energy Supplies Ltd. (subsequently CHP Ltd.) provided for the control of emissions to be well within the European standards and these were monitored by the Environment Agency.

The proposed new arrangements for waste disposal would give the opportunity for new investment and cost savings on the heat supply side which would have the benefit of releasing funds for maintenance, lower charges and further network works.

5. Future Directions

In the mid 1980's the debate about metering of group and district heating systems was a live one throughout the country. At the time discussion was held about the relevance of metering individual homes supplied by the Byker District Heating Network. It was considered that the top priority for investment was to ensure reliability of the network, refurbishment of control valves etc. in individual homes and ensuring there was a computerised energy management system.

With the completion of the network renewal programme planned in 2002, the issue of individual control for individual households is back on the agenda. A feasibility study is being commissioned to examine the most effective way of achieving and funding an individual metered supply for all residents across the estate. Individual metering would now help to ensure that individual households have control over their individual heating circumstances and would of necessity be linked to measures to ensure all thermostats and controls are in full working order.

Supporting Reports

1. Newcastle's Home Energy Conservation Strategy 1996

2. Byker Combined Heat and Power - Energy from Waste (August 1997)

3. Byker District Heating - A Strategy for the Future (November 1987)

4. Energy Efficiency Demonstration Programme 1991/2 and 1992/3

5. Byker CH Heat Supply and CHP Project Phases 1 and 2 (January - September 1991)

6. The Byker Redevelopment Booklet (1981)