A HIGH-tech new heating system which will make Clydebank one of the greenest areas in the country is now operational.

The District Heating Network is the first large-scale water source heat pump scheme of its kind in Scotland, and will transform the way homes, businesses and public buildings in the centre of the town are heated.

The system works by extracting water from the River Clyde to generate heat for buildings on the site of the former John Brown Shipyard, now known as Queens Quay.

The ambitious £20 million project to create a state-of-the-art energy centre and lay 5km of below-ground pipework was completed last week on behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC).

The Post revealed in October 2019 that the cost of the project had jumped by 30 per cent - from £15.1m to £19.5m.

The initial costs of the commercial deal for the project also went up from £900,000 to £3.5m.

Councillor Iain McLaren, the authority's convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development, said: “This system is the first of its kind in Scotland and I am proud that West Dunbartonshire is leading the way in using this natural resource to provide energy.

“This district heating system will have a hugely positive impact on Clydebank and West Dunbartonshire as a whole, allowing the council to take steps to address fuel poverty among tenants and residents by offering reduced tariffs compared to traditional heating methods, as well as working to achieve carbon reduction targets, removing more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon from the environment every year for the next 40 years.

“I’d like to pass on a big congratulations to all involved in bringing this project to completion.

"It has involved years of hard work, but it has been truly worth it because our communities will reap the rewards for decades to come.”

In the initial phase of the switch-on, heat is being supplied to WDC's offices at Aurora House, as well as to the Titan Enterprise Centre, Clydebank Leisure Centre and the new care home at the site, Queens Quay House.

Pipework is also in place to supply the forthcoming Clydebank Health Centre, over 140 flats and retail units currently on site, all other homes planned for the site as well as Clydebank Library and Clydebank Town Hall.

The council will meet £14.458 million of the cost of the system, with the Scottish Government funding £6.1million through the European Regional Development Fund.