The Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill was laid before the Scottish Parliament in March with a call for views open until 29 May.

The Bill introduces a completely new framework for the regulation of heat in Scotland with the aim of decarbonising Scotland's heat supply and enabling faster deployment of district heat networks.

The Bill is a smorgasbord of new (and some not so new) concepts. So, in true lawyer tradition, we thought a short definitions section to introduce the key terms might help:

  • Heat Network Licences;

Licences are for all heat network operators. It is the operator who needs a Licence not the network. Licensing will ensure that heat network operators are solvent, competent, fit and proper persons and are capable of providing such an essential service.

  • Heat Network Consents;

Consents are for the construction and/or operation of a heat network. They enable the regulation of development and the operation of the networks themselves. Consents will be granted to the operator but are akin to section 36 consents for electricity generation projects and include deemed planning permission.

  • Heat Network Zones; and

Zones are areas to be designated by the Scottish Ministers or local authorities as particularly suitable for heat networks. This is to enable strategic planning of heat networks.

  • Heat Network Zone Permits.

Permits will confer the exclusive right to operate new heat networks within a Zone and are intended to be allocated following a competitive process. Permits are effectively concessions and are introduced to increase investor confidence in heat networks.

You can read more about the Bill and our thoughts on what's in it – and importantly, what isn't - in our article Regulating Heat Networks in Scotland.