Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility First low-carbon heating pipes laid at Shawfair Town - Locate in Midlothian
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First low-carbon heating pipes laid at Shawfair Town

The first pipes to supply the brand new Shawfair Town in Midlothian with low-carbon heating have been installed, with construction on the site now well-underway.

Vattenfall Heat UK (part of Swedish energy company Vattenfall AB) and Midlothian Council are working together under a Joint Venture known as Midlothian Energy Limited and have employed Scottish company, FES Group to deliver the low-carbon heating, which will provide around 3,000 homes, education and retail properties at Shawfair Town, a development overseen by Shawfair LLP, in the north of the Midlothian Council area.

This will be Vattenfall’s first ever heat project in Scotland and Midlothian Energy Limited’s flagship project.

Capturing and recycling heat

Heat that would otherwise be wasted will be captured by Midlothian Energy from Millerhill recycling and energy recovery centre (RERC), operated by FCC Environment, then transported via a network of underground pipes to provide a low-carbon source of heating and hot water for properties at Shawfair.

Reducing emissions

Vattenfall’s modelling suggests the heat networks in Midlothian could reduce emissions by up to 90% in comparison to individual gas boilers fitted in every home. Taking away reliance on fossil fuels to heat homes and businesses protects customers from market volatility.

Delivered to homes by March 2024

Heat is expected to be delivered to homes by March 2024.The pipes for the initial phase of the network will be around four kilometres in length and the project is expected to save over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off the road.

The project will benefit from up to £7.3m² from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project (LCITP).

Low carbon heat

This initial supply of heat will be the catalyst for a wider regional network stretching into south Edinburgh and East Lothian. The Shawfair development is a key feature of the Midlothian Energy Limited 5-year business plan to supply low-carbon heat to over 30,000 households and progress a variety of other energy projects.

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Dianne Alexander, said:

“The Council is delighted to see the first of many projects for Midlothian Energy reach the construction phase. Our innovative approach to working with a highly experienced partner will help Midlothian deliver on its ambitious net zero plans and contribute to reducing fuel poverty.”

Eoghan Maguire, Director for Scotland at Vattenfall Heat UK said:

“Scotland’s ambitious net zero target of 2045 cannot be met unless district heating is deployed at scale. The collaboration between organisations working to deliver this project means that the vision for this brand-new town can become exemplary for district heating in Scotland and beyond.

“This project is such an important first step in our vision for the region. Vattenfall have developed a strategy to deliver city-wide district heating that is capable of supplying heat to the equivalent of 170,000⁴ homes in Midlothian, Edinburgh and East Lothian by 2050, matching the scale of our heat networks in Europe.”

Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie said:

“With thousands of people in Shawfair set to receive environmentally friendly heating, this project is a great example of the role heat networks will play in helping meet our decarbonisation targets. We are proud to have supported this project with £7.3 million² from our Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and I look forward to seeing it grow in scale, supplying heating to even more buildings as the network expands.”

Craig Ormond, Director at Shawfair LLP said:

“We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone in the development of Shawfair with installation of the first District Heating pipes underway. This will set Shawfair apart with a truly sustainable heat source for thousands of new homes helping to make this a popular new living destination with its own rail link and hundreds of acres of landscaped open space to enjoy.

“Our highly experienced design team have been working closely with Vattenfall and Midlothian Council for several months and are excited to see the progress being made on site. Our Project Manager (Thomas & Adamson) and Contractor (RJ McLeod) have ensured we are progressing on schedule towards the first house connections.”

James Reid, FES Energy Operations Director at FES Group said:

“The first pipes being installed at the Shawfair Development is a great milestone achieved for the Vattenfall team following years of project development to get to this point.

“FES are delighted to be Principal Contractor supporting Vattenfall and Midlothian Council in their ambitious energy strategy for the Midlothian area and look forward to further milestones being achieved at the development over the coming year.”

Paul Taylor, Group Chief Executive for FCC Environment said:

“Since 2019 the Millerhill recycling and energy recovery centre (RERC) has been converting non-recyclable household and business waste into heat and power. The plant was developed by us alongside The City of Edinburgh Council and Midlothian Council to help them divert 155,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year and the facility is a key component in the Councils’ combined commitment to helping to reach the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste target.

“With Net Zero ever on the agenda and a pressing need to invest in UK based renewable power sources as we seek to move to a lower carbon future economy, utilising the heat from this plant is vital. So today’s news that real progress is being made towards delivering low-cost, low-carbon heating to 170,000⁴ homes in the Midlothian and Edinburgh region is welcome and we are proud to be a part of this major step forward.”

Further information

For further information about the project, please contact:
Emily Faull-Jones, UK Media Relations at Vattenfall
+ 44 7816 060507


  1. 2,500 CO2e saved per year figure is based on Vattenfall carbon analysis for heat recovered from EfW and electric boiler backup compared to homes on gas boilers using BEIS carbon intensity figures.
  3. Source: Vattenfall internal carbon intensity modelling. 90% carbon reduction compared to individual gas boilers based on 25,000 connected to a heat network supplied by an EfW plant.
  4. The Edinburgh network aims to serve the equivalent of 170,000 homes by 2050 – Vattenfall internal modelling estimate of the number of connectible buildings to heat networks.
  5. Scotland’s targets of reaching net zero emissions by 2045 – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions – Climate change – (
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