Omega Proteins Ltd is pushing for permission to install a district heating system in Penrith.

The animal by-products processing plant, a subsidiary of the Leo Group, submitted the application as part of its pro-environment strategy.

The project fits within the Leo Group's commitment to cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, and supporting the UK's net-zero targets.

Andrew Watts at Maze Planning Solutions, Leo Group’s planning consultant, said: “The Government’s Energy Act became law on October 26; it includes measures to promote and support the creation of heat networks as a means of addressing the challenges of climate change, so the principles of the scheme proposed for Penrith finds support at the highest level.

"The construction of heat networks is recognised as a crucial part of how the UK will reach its net-zero targets. It is one of the most cost-effective ways of decarbonising heating systems in the UK, which presently rely heavily on boilers fuelled by natural gas and oil.”

The proposed initiative seeks to leverage waste heat from Omega Proteins' operations by transmitting it through a new dedicated underground pipeline extending to Sewborwens Farm and Newton Rigg Estate.

Here, it will be put to work for space heating of buildings.

The proposed pipeline, approximately 2,100 metres long, would be carefully installed to minimise impact on trees and natural habitats.

The majority of the route traverses farmland of relatively low ecological value, allowing for easy restoration upon completion of the pipeline.

The planned heat network is a closed loop system.

Clean hot water will continuously circulate through the network, returning to the heat source for recharging.

Use of heat exchangers ensures the clean water and industrial heat source never mix, maintaining the integrity of the sealed network.

Nina Schwarz, PR Manager at Leo Group, said: "The proposed Omega/Sewborwens/Newton Rigg heat network would be the first of its kind in Cumbria.

"When completed, it also has the potential to expand to heat up to 3,000 homes and businesses in Penrith. And it is another building block and part of our ongoing commitment to introducing environmentally friendly technologies at our Penrith site, with the aim of becoming carbon neutral.

"For this commitment we have just been awarded the regional Planet Saver Award by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce."