Horden’s former coal mine could be used to grow food and support local businesses

A former County Durham coal mine could be used to grow food and support local businesses in Horden.

Durham County Council is working alongside East Durham Trust, the Coal Authority, East Durham Business Services and community representatives to identify ways in which mine water heat can be used in Horden.

The group has been successful in bidding for £110,000 from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Net Zero Hub, to carry out a feasibility study and community engagement.

The feasibility study will explore various ways to use heat from the mine water and examine the infrastructure already installed.

It follows the creation of a district heat network in Dawdon, which will supply low-carbon geothermal heat from a former coal mine to Seaham Garden Village, a new housing and community development.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “There are some fantastic opportunities to explore the possibility of using low carbon to heat businesses or to grow food in the area. With our commitment to reducing carbon emissions, it is very exciting that we are leading the way on mine water heat networks.

“We are now one of the most advanced councils in the country when it comes to working to make our county a superpower in tackling climate change and securing green jobs. Our ambitious plan also has the added benefit of reducing costs in other areas such as food production and energy, which will help to further support our residents.”

Graham Easterlow, chief executive officer of the East Durham Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be awarded support for this really exciting project. Energy sovereignty and security has become a key concern for the communities of East Durham.

“It’s incredible to think that in the long run we can use heat from mine water to help heat our community projects. We are really excited about getting out and about in our communities to share ideas about reaching net zero and learn more about what energy security means for our communities.”