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The Government has responded to the heat network zoning consultation and confirmed it will push for a UK wide requirement for heat network connections. The consultation highlights that a methodology will be developed to identify heat network zones across the UK. Zoning is expected to help expand the heat network sector by encouraging continuing investment, and forms part of the government’s net zero strategy to have up to 20% of UK homes supplied by heat networks by 2050.

Local authorities will have the power to enforce requirements for certain types of buildings to connect to new and existing heat networks. The legislation around zoning will complement Heat Network Regulation, expected to come into effect around 2030, to ensure network operators make good purchasing deals to secure fair pricing for consumers. Heat Network Zones will be in areas where heat networks are considered the lowest cost solution for decarbonising heat.

The Heat Network Zoning Pilot Programme (HNZPP) was launched in February 2022 in 28 cities and towns across the UK and is being used to test the methodology to identify heat network zones. The specific rules around zoning including criteria for determining the list of buildings, timeframes for connecting and carbon standards are still to be defined, and there will be further consultations relating to these