Construction to begin on extension of Leeds’ award-winning low carbon heat network: Leeds Combined Court Centre (credit: Vital Energi)

01 Sep 2022

Construction to begin on extension of Leeds’ award-winning low carbon heat network

Leeds PIPES district heating network Climate change Clean air/air quality Energy Environment Infrastructure

Plans to extend Leeds’ award-winning district heating network by 2,500 metres will pass a major milestone as construction is set to begin within weeks. 

The extension marks the third major phase of the Leeds PIPES network and means that more buildings in new areas of the city will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of reliable, affordable, and low carbon district heating.  

Leeds City Council has confirmed that work to construct the extension will get underway from the week beginning September 19. 

The local authority secured £3.0 million of grant funding from the Heat Network Investment Project, a government funding programme, to enable the £7.4 million upgrades to go ahead. 

By using heat and energy recovered from non-recyclable waste at the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) to provide hot water to buildings in the city, Leeds’ flagship district heating project helps businesses and residents to move away from costly fossil fuel powered heating systems. 

Last year the network of insulated underground pipes, soon to stretch more than 28 kilometres (17 miles) in length, supplied 15,454 megawatt-hours of heating and helped reduce the city’s carbon footprint by more than 2,000 tonnes.  

The £49 million network continues to expand and is regularly connecting to new buildings. Buildings and developments located nearby can choose to connect at any time. 

Leeds Combined Court Centre and Leeds Magistrates’ Court are the latest buildings to announce plans to connect to the scheme. The two buildings will connect as part of a wider programme of green upgrades over the next year. 

The project, delivered in partnership with Vital Energi, has also helped employ more than 430 people in the local low carbon sector including 36 apprentices. 


Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Infrastructure and Climate, said: 

“The Leeds PIPES district heating network is one of our most exciting infrastructure projects and has real momentum behind it with more public, commercial, and residential buildings all choosing to connect. 

“By extending the network to more parts of the city, I am delighted that we’ll soon be able to give even more businesses and residents the opportunity to enjoy affordable, reliable and low carbon heat—helping them to move away from costly fossil fuel based systems and towards a greener future.” 


Lord Callanan, Minister for Business and Energy, said: 

“Government grants have already allowed homes, businesses and public buildings across Leeds city centre to move away from using costly fossil fuels and this latest heat network funding will help many more to see the benefits of low-carbon heating.   

“Coupled with upgrades through the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, we are showing how investing in cutting-edge clean technologies can help protect consumers and businesses from the costs that are driving up energy bills at a time of high global prices.” 


Graeme Goldsmith, Delivery Director for HMCTS North East, said: 

“Moving away from fossil fuel heating is a priority for us across the court estate as we look to build back greener from the pandemic and improve sustainability.  

“Connecting Leeds Combined Court and Leeds Magistrates’ Court to the network will support our target to reduce our carbon footprint and our ambition to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. 

“This project is a great example of local and cross-governmental working to tackle an important issue.” 

Mike Cooke, Vital Energi’s Managing Director (North & Scotland), said:  
“It is truly exciting to see the award-winning Leeds PIPES scheme continue to grow and bring low-carbon heat to more customers.  Each connection to the network is another step for Leeds City Council and the respective customer on their Net Zero journey. We’re delighted to be helping them lower carbon emissions and bring more affordable heat to the people, buildings and businesses of Leeds.” 

Ken Hunnisett, Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management, said:  

“The continued growth of the Leeds PIPES heat network will see affordable, low carbon heating and cooling supplied to more of the city than ever before. The talented team at Leeds City Council, along with their partners, are showcasing how to deliver real impact in the transition to net zero.

"Having submitted the first application to the HNIP in 2019 – which saw them secure £2.4 million to connect several of the Council’s landmark buildings in the civic centre and further reduce the use of individual, fossil fuel powered boilers – they have now been successful in obtaining this further funding that will unlock strategically significant developments in the months and years to come, keeping Leeds at the forefront of the UK’s decarbonisation efforts.”



Notes for editors: 

  • The Leeds PIPES network has been developed by Leeds City Council in partnership with Vital Energi.  
  • In addition to the £3.0m of HNIP funding detailed within this press release, the Leeds PIPES district heat network has previously received funding from regional, national and European sources:  
  1. £4m from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal.  
  2. £0.1m from the LEP Energy Accelerator programme, funded by the Leeds City Region Growth Deal and the European Investment Bank’s European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme.  
  3. £5.8m from the European Regional Development Fund to help connect 1,080 council homes to the network.  
  4. £2.4m from the Heat Network Investment Project, managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy   

For media enquiries contact:

Chad Newton
Leeds City Council