The latest news on Heat Network regulations - Inteb

The latest news on Heat Network regulations


While the UK Government is yet to announce regulations regarding Heat Networks strategy across England and Wales, Scotland has taken a sideways step and announced the first stages of its own regulations.

So, what regulations have been announced?

Heat Network regulations in Scotland

The Heat Networks Bill announcement in Scotland is aimed at creating a regulatory framework and licencing system that will:

  • Encourage the use of heat networks
  • Make district heating more attractive to consumers
  • Create new rights for heat network developers
  • Encourage investment in the heating sector

Heating is one of the main contributors to the UK’s carbon footprint. And it’s estimated heat networks could reduce emissions equivalent to 90,000 cars by 2050 and save households connected to a heat network up to £130 on heating costs per year.

So, lowering emissions and improving efficiency is crucial if we’re to achieve our carbon neutral targets by 2050.

Scotland has taken the first steps towards these goals, so it will be interesting to see if England and Wales announce a similar model later in 2021.

How the regulations will work in Scotland

The regulations will introduce a licencing system that will require heat network operators to obtain a licence and consent for operating or constructing a network.

And the Bill explains how it will regulate the network in parts 1-5 of its 9-part document:

  • Licencing
  • Heat Networks Consent
  • Heat Network Zones
  • Het Network Zone Permits
  • Building Assessments

To understand these better, let’s take a closer look at what each of these involves:


It will be an offence for any person or organisation to run or implement a heat network without a licence.

Anyone will be able to apply for a licence, but these can only be issued if the licencing authority is satisfied the operator can carry out the activities authorised by the licence.

2.Heat Networks Consent

A heat network cannot be operated or constructed unless consent is granted. As with licencing, before the application is given the go-ahead, the appropriate authority has to be satisfied that the person or organisation has the right to use the heat network to operate it.

3.Heat Network Zones

Where a particular area is considered suitable for the construction and operation of a heat network, the authority (or Scottish Ministers) can designate that area as a ‘heat network zone’.

This means that other heat networks in the area may be prohibited unless the operator has a ‘heat network permit’.

4.Heat Network Zone Permits

The permit authority will prohibit the operation or creation of a heat network in a particular zone unless the operator has a heat network zone permit.

This means a developer with a permit could hold exclusive rights to operate a heat network without competition.

5.Building Assessments

This section states that all public sector building owners must prepare building assessment reports on all non-domestic buildings to establish whether they’re suitable for connection to a heat network.


But what these regulations really confirm is that heat networks remain a significant part of Scotland’s Heat in Buildings Strategy in achieving their net-zero goals.

How this affects current legislation

While there are no implementation regulations yet in place, there is a commitment to producing a strategy by 2022. But in the meantime, this will not affect the current Heat Network (Billing and Metering) regulations (which you can read more about in our article, Heat Networks – How to establish if you have responsibility?).

However, there is likely to be further news on Heat Networks across the rest of the UK when the UK Government publishes the outcome of their consultation on heat networks later this year.

How Inteb can help

If you’re new to heat networks, you must first submit a notification to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) before or on the day it becomes operational.

And Inteb can help you understand what information you need to include before you submit your form.

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