Headington Headlines #323

Your weekly round-up of local news for 19 – 25 June.

As predicted last week, the start of the Access to Headington work on Headley Way which was due today has been postponed to 24 July to allow Thames Water to carry out sewer replacement work in St Clements first. The St Clements work means traffic lights and closures for two months.

Judy Webb, naturalist, conservationist and leading light of the Friends of Lye Valley @FriendLyeValley received an Oxford City Certificate of Honour “for 16 years of service as a volunteer promoting nature conservation within Oxford”. She was presented with her certificate by Oxfordshire Deputy Lieutenant Lady Helen Baker.

Judy Webb receiving her Certificate of Honour
Judy Webb receiving her Certificate of Honour

Oxford City’s Executive Board ‘made’ (i.e. approved) the Headington Plan. To complete the process it still needs confirmation by the full City Council, which will happen next month.

The Oxford Mail reports that the OU Hospitals Trust is considering installing number plate recognition controls at the hospital car parks.

The day before the new parliament started, Oxford East’s new MP @anneliesedodds was tipped by the Huffington Post as one of ‘nine MPs tipped to shine‘ in the new parliament. They predict a significant role in Labour’s Brexit team.

I was one of a group of 14 locals who enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Energy Project at the JR Hospital on Thursday. After a short presentation giving an overview of the project we were shown the new boilers and the 4.5MW CHP engine. They’ve managed to fit some impressive equipment and miles of pipes into the existing hospital structure without losing any of the hospital’s working time.

The man who pleaded guilty to the murder in Windmill Road in February (see HH319 and HH305) was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years 10 months. Egidio Da Silva Alves murdered his brother-in-law Domingos Ramalho in a family feud.

Active posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Strimmer found

The Hospital Energy Project – Summary

The Energy Project – Summary

The OUH NHS Foundation Trust announced this project to the press, local councillors and a few other interested parties on Monday 30 November. They provided much more detailed information than had leaked out before, and I’ve tried to summarise the main facts.

Although the installation of the heat pipe will have a huge impact on Headington for at least six months starting in January, the whole project is much more than just a pair of insulated pipes feeding hot water betweem the JR and Churchill hospitals. Here I describe the full project, the impact of the construction works, and the measures the Trust is setting up to keep everyone informed, listen to and try to answer their concerns.

I’ve written about

  1. The Hospital Energy Project
  2. Installing the heatpipe
  3. Public communications
  4. Financial

each on a separate link.

If you haven’t got much time and don’t want to read all the articles, here’s a summary.

  • The Energy Project is much more than just a pipe between the two hospitals. It’s a major upgrade to the energy systems, and will save the Trust nearly £2m and 11,400 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
  • The installation of the heat pipe will start early in January and last for six months. Roads will be closed for various periods during that time. Serious disruption is inevitable.
  • The Trust has so far failed to establish meaningful communications with residents and others who will be affected. A public meeting is being arranged for next week which may or may not start a meaningful discussion.

Read more by clicking the links in the headings above.

Hospital Energy Project 1 – The Project

The Hospital Energy Project

The Hospital Energy Project is costing £14.8 million and is expected to take 18 months to complete. The main contractors are Vital Energi. At the JR the project involves replacing four ageing boilers with a new high efficiency boiler. This will produce enough heat to meet existing and growing future demands. It will function as a combined heat and power (CHP) system with spare heat being transferred to the Churchill.

At the Churchill, three ageing boilers will be replaced with two modern ones. The hospital will normally draw part of its energy needs from the connection to the JR, but extra capacity will be brought on line when the supply from the JR is not enough.

At both hospitals, instead of circulating hot water to meet heating demands the new systems will circulate steam and low-temperature water. Using steam means the system will be more flexible and will be able to deliver heat where it is needed. Modern heating controls will also raise the efficiency of the system. The new systems will be more reliable and cheaper to maintain that the old ones, some parts of which are over 40 years old. Also at both hospitals there is a programme to replace over 7,000 light fittings with new low energy fittings.

The energy systems at both hospitals will be centrally controlled from the JR, but each hospital can control its own system independently if necessary. The Building Management Systems will also be extensively upgraded (this is like adjusting the thermostatic radiator settings in your home when you need more or less heat in any particular room).

The heat link between the two hospitals is of course the heat pipe: two insulated pipes laid underground to carry hot water from the JR to the Churchill and cool water back again. The pipes are supplied by Danish specialist district heating company Isoplus Fjernvarmeteknik A/S. The Trust is taking the opportunity to link the two sites with a high-voltage power cable to support the centralised control systems, and a fibre-optic data cable to improve the resilience of IT systems shared between the two sites.

What will all this achieve? The current cost of electricity, gas and oil at the two hospitals is £4.3m a year, resulting in carbon emissions of more than 30,000 tonnes a year. When it’s finished, the Energy Project will deliver a 45% reduction in energy costs (saving £1.9m on present costs) and a 38% reduction (about 11,400 tonnes) in annual carbon emissions. The new system will be much more reliable, cost much less to maintain, and be (in the buzz-word of the moment) much more resilient – which means able to withstand unforseen problems without breaking down. It will also mean less reliance on the national grid, which is an important consideration as demand on the grid over the winter months is very close to capacity and will stay that way for several more years. And as I explain later in the section on how the project is financed (not yet available), the Trust gets all this at a known annual cost for 25 years.