New East Lothian housing estate aims to be fully gas free, clean and green

A controversial new housing estate is aiming to be completely ‘gas free’ after developers said they would be working to install ‘green’ air pumps in all the homes.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 12:30 pm

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Work on the Castlemains estate, at Dirleton, is due to get underway next month, after a planning battle which eventually saw the Scottish Government step in to grant approval.

And MNM Developments who are overseeing the 36 new homes has now said it hopes to install air source heat pump systems in every one of them.

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An artist's impression of the cleaner, greener homes

Executive homes on the site are already being marketed with the green energy source included in the marketing brochure,

Marc Teague, managing director of MNM Development (Scot) Ltd, said the company is seeking grants from the Scottish Government to allow the renewable energy units to be added to affordable housing on the site as well.

He said: “We will be installing air source heat pump system to all properties at Castlemains which will be a first for us at MNM Developments (Scot) Ltd.

“At MNM we have always maintained a focus on renewables when designing new developments by using sustainable raw materials and at Castlemains we have the opportunity to take this further and make the development gas free and introduce air source heat pump systems which will create a greener community.

“We are proposing to use the same system in the affordable element of the development. We are awaiting the Scottish governments grant approval for this through our affordable operator Places For People/East Lothian Housing Association. “

The houses on Castlemains Farm, Dirleton were controversially given the go ahead by Scottish Ministers in 2019 after the local authority refused to grant planning permission.

The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS ) told the council the plans to build next to medieval Dirleton Castle, which dates back to the mid 13th century, were too “modern and suburban”.

And Dirleton Village Association branded the housing “as alien as if it had landed from outer space”.

Dirleton Castle is one of the oldest in Scotland and a medieval fortress which dates back to the mid-13thcentury and has been at the centre of numerous sieges. At one point it was owned by the Ruthvens, who were involved in several plots against Mary Queen of Scots and King James VI.

Air source heat pumps are being hailed as a major step towards the country reaching net zero carbon targets, although the cost of installation is currently around £14,000 per system.

East Lothian Council’s planners have approved an application to include the pumps on 26 homes at Castlemains. It is understood the developer is waiting until they have secured funding before applying for permission to install pumps at the remaining ten homes.

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