The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed a revelation in Oldham Council’s recently published Housing Strategy that geothermal heat from Oldham’s former coal mines could be used to heat homes across the borough in the future.
In October 2014, Councillor Sykes first asked the then Council Leader if officers could investigate this possibility and five years on it appears they will finally do so.
Councillor Sykes said: “Oldham’s coal mines are bursting with untapped renewable energy potential. Instead of your day to day Council Chamber hot air, this could serve to heat resident’s homes forever and provide widespread benefit for all.”
Oldham’s cotton mills required machinery powered by coal mines. There are hundreds of tunnels bored deep beneath the borough’s surface which store latent and unused geothermal heat, which can be used to warm people’s homes without fear of running out of steam.
In October 2014, Councillor Sykes raised the possibility that Oldham Council harness this ‘free energy’ with the Leader of the Council, using case studies from Scotland and the Midlands. At that time, Stoke-On-Trent Council received government finance to invest in this previously unthought of resource.
The Liberal Democrats are convinced that geothermal heat can make a major contribution to making Britain carbon neutral by 2050. The party first adopted the policy as part of their 2015 Election Manifesto, and four years later the current Government has finally just mirrored this commitment.
Councillor Sykes added: “The Liberal Democrats have a clear vision for cleaner, greener towns and cities. I would be delighted if we could lead the way in using geothermal energy to power Oldham’s homes and help save our environment.”