Well, that's dated me. I am, however, pleased to see that BEIS have launched a pilot funding scheme designed to support district heating networks. Given that the UK is some way off meeting its decarbonisation targets for heat, and that one of the main barriers to the development of more heat networks is access to sufficient finance, this is a significant development.
Currently less than 2% of heat in the UK is supplied through heat networks. However, not only can they provide affordable energy for all but they have an important role to play in the fossil fuel to low carbon transition. Although heat networks will not be a viable solution in all areas of the UK, hopefully local authorities will embrace this opportunity and at least give the idea some careful consideration.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched the first part of a £320 million scheme designed to support the deployment of district heating networks across the UK. In November last year the government confirmed it was to support district heating networks following revelations that the UK had fallen further behind in its progress towards meeting decarbonisation targets for heat. Following a consultation which took place earlier this year, this morning BEIS kick-started the scheme with a £39 million pilot project. This will consist of a single competitive funding round in which projects will bid for grants or loans.