Ellesmere Port Residents Derail Hydrogen Heating Trial

Residents in Whitby, Ellesmere Port, have managed to halt the controversial plan to turn their village into a trial site for a hydrogen-powered community. The project, spearheaded by gas firm Cadent, has been scrapped after substantial local opposition, with disgruntled residents likening themselves to “lab rats.”

The proposal aimed to test the viability of hydrogen gas for domestic homes, but encountered a storm of resistance from locals. Energy Minister Lord Martin Callanan confirmed the termination of Whitby’s role in the trial, emphasizing that

“there is no strong local support.”


Ignoring Safety Concerns and Public Consent

The plan, viewed by residents as more an experiment than a viable pathway to decarbonisation, proposed to replace residents’ natural gas supplies with pure hydrogen from 2025. Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, summed up the concerns of many, stating,

“It is clear that asking people to try experimental new forms of energy consumption for their homes will not work unless basic questions about safety, efficacy and cost can be answered from the start.”


The proposal drew further criticism for being imposed on the local community without their consent. Madders commented,

“leaving people with the impression that this was happening without their consent sent entirely the wrong message out about how we need to tackle climate change.”


A Defeat for Cadent

In the face of the project’s cancellation, Cadent claimed that the aborted plan would still play an “invaluable role in shaping how the UK heats its homes and businesses,” glossing over the fact that its efforts had faced an unequivocal rejection by the residents of Whitby.

Despite Cadent’s insistence that it was likely the government would still progress the trial in Redcar, the whole episode serves as a stark reminder of the pitfalls of pushing experimental energy solutions without adequately addressing public concerns and obtaining local consent. The residents of Ellesmere Port have sent a clear message that they won’t be turned into guinea pigs for unproven and potentially risky energy initiatives.


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July 13, 2023 2:19 am

It is interesting that both Ellesmere Port and Redcar are in the north of England, far away from London. Why are they choosing to carry out these only in the north of England? Why not try these experiments in the south of England? Is the government worried about something?

Reply to  CampsieFellow
July 13, 2023 2:57 am

Why did Margaret test pilot the Community Charge in Scotland?

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  strativarius
July 13, 2023 4:58 am

Yeah, what about it?

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 13, 2023 5:11 am

You missed the antagonism.

What about the protests?

“”TAXING TIME What was the poll tax and why did Margaret Thatcher’s policy start riots in Scotland?””

Peta of Newark
Reply to  CampsieFellow
July 13, 2023 3:17 am

That particular place (Whitby and circled blue on my map) is almost on a piece of land called the ‘Wirral’ = circled pink on my map

Most of The Wirral is an expensive and very posh place – it is heading down to the area around Chester where the £50+Million footballers (of Man. Utd football club) maintain/keep their WAGs, mansions and Ferraris

It is not your archetypal North of England by any means

The Wirral.PNG
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 13, 2023 4:29 am

Yes, but Ellesmere Port itself is a dump

Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 13, 2023 7:02 am

Most is NOT expensive. I was born there. There ate some expensive areas but there is New Brighton, Wakkasey, Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port, Tranmere, Leasowe etc that are not.

Reply to  Greytide
July 14, 2023 10:22 am

Who ate those ‘expensive areas’?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 13, 2023 9:08 am

Bottom half of the Wirral is expensive and posh where I grew up, Wallasey, and large parts of Birkenhead not so much.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 13, 2023 12:19 pm

My dad served his apprenticeship at Cammell Laird and a cousin used to live in Bebbington. It ain’t posh.

Reply to  CampsieFellow
July 13, 2023 4:36 am

Give it two weeks to flatten the town.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  CampsieFellow
July 13, 2023 9:03 am

They also carried out the first pilot trial of hydrogen/gas mix in Winlaton a small village near Newcastle beginning in Aug 2021 and gradually increasing the hydrogen to 30%.

July 13, 2023 2:26 am

Hydrogen is obviously not an energy source. It is a very inefficient means of energy storage. Methane conversion is very wasteful to start with and electrolysis converts high quality directional energy ( electricity ) into low quality thermal energy when the gas is burnt.

This kind of waste and stupidity is only conceivable when you are in a hysterical panic about a FAKE “crisis”.

Good choices are never made in panic but that is what the AGW hysteria demands.


Reply to  climategrog
July 13, 2023 5:10 am

I wonder if Greta Thunberg can “see” hydrogen.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
July 13, 2023 6:12 am

DiHydrogen(MonOxide) she could probably see

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bryan A
July 13, 2023 11:03 am

Not if its a vapor.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 13, 2023 12:20 pm

As it’s a more important greenhouse gas I say ban it.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 14, 2023 10:26 am

Let’s get her to try to ‘see’ Carbon Monoxide.

Reply to  climategrog
July 14, 2023 10:24 am

only conceivable when you are in a hysterical panic about a FAKE “crisis”.

Or, when you need some bribe money.

July 13, 2023 2:27 am

As we [used to] say, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“Ignoring Safety Concerns and Public Consent”

Where net zero etc is concerned all public consultations are merely window dressing. A kind of dance that has to be gone through. Make no mistake they are completely ignored.

“Traffic filters will ‘definitely’ be introduced in Oxford, said a travel chief, implying the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not.

A cabinet decision on the traffic restrictions will be made on November 29 following a consultation which closed earlier this month. But Duncan Enright, cabinet member for travel and development strategy, has already told the Sunday Times: “It’s going to happen, definitely.”

The filters stopping most motorists from driving through Oxford city centre will divide the city into six “15 minute” neighbourhoods”

It’s hardly a one-off

“Sadiq Khan has been accused of manipulating a public consultation on expanding London’s Ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) after it emerged that more than 5,000 votes were excluded….”

Forget consultations, we all know democracy is an huge impediment to the green way, anyway.

This is feudalism. They know what’s best for you – and they did listen to you before they told you that you were wrong. (h/t T Blair)

That’s where revolts like this not only come in, but are essential.

Bryan A
Reply to  strativarius
July 13, 2023 6:14 am

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Now they practice…
If it ain’t broke, fix it until it is

Reply to  strativarius
July 13, 2023 9:21 am

Wonder how those cameras would respond to an 8W handheld laser pointer?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  strativarius
July 13, 2023 9:44 am

Traffic through Oxford city centre and its main feeder roads has always been a nightmare. When I was there, 1969-72, the morning and early evening rush hours were already very busy on the roads to the city centre (there was no ring road at that time). Have a very good friend, ex Prof of Biochemistry, who still lives there. Met up with him and other friends earlier this year. The Council have already introduced lots of ‘traffic calming’ measures across the city. Irony is they force traffic onto the feeder roads making them even more congested and the ring road is now old and also congested.

Not sure the 15 minute neighbourhoods are going to achieve much really. Building a new city might be the only realistic option 🙂

Reply to  strativarius
July 13, 2023 12:23 pm

I was in a black cab yesterday from Paddington to Euston. The cabbie had an LEVC cab and said he now only uses the petrol engine as the electricity costs are more expensive.

Rod Evans
Reply to  rovingbroker
July 13, 2023 3:38 am

The Climate Alarmists have a different interpretation of the four Ps when it comes to ‘marketing’
Permanent Poor Performance Preferred.

July 13, 2023 3:37 am

Cadent should first convert their own offices to hydrogen only, and run it for a couple of years.. as well as the homes of all the CEOs etc.

Head offices in Coventry.. So that is where the trial should be.

July 13, 2023 3:47 am
Reply to  bnice2000
July 13, 2023 10:46 am

Of course.

The idea is to introduce hydrogen to the “main” at some junction. Everyone downstream gets the experimental gas or, if they close the valve at their residence, they get nothing.

Among the many areas of concern, safety would be my top item and this “experiment,” it seems to me, would be a risky one. Remember, H2 molecules are much smaller than CH4, methane.

The point is that a line safe for natural gas can leak hydrogen. AND, nobody would smell it. Natural gas is odorless – a chemical, often Mercaptan, is added so that leaks can be noticed.

Mercaptan is CH4S which is to say that a valve or mechanical joint could be leaking hydrogen but not leaking the methane or the odorant – nobody would notice – DANGER!

The referenced piece doesn’t explain what Cadent did to assure residents that they would be safe. Absent that, as well as addressing other areas of concern could account for the lack of public support.

Anyway, that’s what I think.

Reply to  StephenG
July 16, 2023 12:54 pm

Hydrogen in gas was distributed to houses in the UK for about 100 years the leakage was detected by the use of mercaptan. The risk was the CO which was part of the gas not explosions. When town gas was replaced by natural gas the risk of explosions greatly increased and necessitated the nationwide replacement of the household delivery system. Domestic leakage risk of hydrogen has been adequately tested and isn’t a problem.

Coeur de Lion
July 13, 2023 4:25 am

I have just emailed my MP in response to her belief that we can propel lorries with hydrogen as clearly they can’t be electrified. (So making the EV campaign pointless). She’s an ignorant Tory.

Richard Page
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 13, 2023 5:23 am

There are only a few who aren’t (at least publicly).

Joseph Zorzin
July 13, 2023 4:45 am

“there is no strong local support.”

What he meant was “there is ferocious resistance”.

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 13, 2023 4:57 am

The Hydrogen for this experiment was supposed to come from, wait for it, Methane, natural gas. The experiment was intended to see if the concept would be workable, not where the Hydrogen came from. The same company made some hoopla last year about a metal furnace powered by Hydrogen, the gas come from a company in St Helens nearby made from Methane.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 13, 2023 8:50 am


My understanding was the hydrogen was gonna come from electrolysis using solar panels and/or windmills to get the volts.

Secondly, in most U.S. places like truck stops, service stations, convenience stores, etc that have propane refill capability for your BBQ grill, they cannot allow the average citizen to fill their own tank. So imagine grandma trying to fill the hydrogen tank in her auto! Visions of Hindenburg …

Gums sends…

July 13, 2023 7:11 am

What is truly astonishing in this an other schemes is that no matter what they do somewhere in the process they will make a GHG (as they call they). Either water vapor, carbon dioxide, or both.

Please don’t say nuclear as you must mine, transport, build plants etc so everything will produce what they want to avoid.

Nothing in nature is reversible so everything they do adds inefficiency at every step.

July 13, 2023 9:22 am

There is a Hydrogen plant in a built-up area of Aberdeen (for a small fleet of buses)

No significant push back of which I am aware.

Gunga Din
July 13, 2023 10:21 am

Mr. Layman here.
Natural gas is odorless. They add something to natural gas so that you can smell a leak.
I don’t think there is anything they can add to H2 so that you can smell a leak.
Assuming inhaling H2 acts the same way as inhaling Helium, if you start to talk in a high, squeaky voice would be about the only way foe a homeowner to detect a leak.
(That or, since the flame isn’t visible, your skin starts to look like a pork rind!)

Reply to  Gunga Din
July 16, 2023 1:02 pm

It always worked in our house when I was growing up in the UK. Adding H2 to a combustible gas increases its burning velocity and makes it less likely to ‘blow off’, a hazard with methane.

Dave Fair
July 13, 2023 11:09 am

I would assume this is an accurate reflection of public sentiment on replacing natural gas with H2. The fact that governments are going full-steam ahead with H2 schemes is a reflection of the ruling class’s obtuseness and arrogance. If the public is so set against it, what makes the elites think they can ram such a huge project through in a nominally democratic society?

July 13, 2023 12:02 pm

Constantly perplexed by the failure to distinguish between a fuel and an energy source. Hydrogen is a fuel, but, is not an energy source. It is a repackaging of an energy source. Electricity is not an energy source (unless, of course, you’re catching lightening), it is repackaged coal or hydro or nuke or other. Ethanol is a fuel but, not an energy source.

The adoption of hydrogen as a fuel makes no sense when it suffers all the production losses associated with converting some other energy source (e.g. natural gas) into hydrogen. Better to use the energy source as the fuel.

Reply to  SCBoater
July 14, 2023 10:36 am

Clear and Concise. Thanks.

July 13, 2023 12:12 pm

Ellesmere Port was the port for Ellesmere (at the end of the Ellesmere canal). Ellesmere was a big producer of sand, and with sand being rather heavy they had one of the first canals built in 1791.

Ellesmere is quaint. Ellesmere Port is a dump. They probably thought the Port could be bullied or bought off.


John in Oz
July 13, 2023 5:26 pm

basic questions about safety, efficacy and cost can be answered from the start.”

These issues have never been addressed by the pro-CAGW crowd so why start now?

July 13, 2023 6:57 pm

The solution is simple if not easy. If government is seeking volunteers for their hydrogen project, government should be the choice. Most government is bloated, redundant and expensive. I think they should set a date for hydrogen to power the government and on that date shut down all other forms of power. We will have to make arrangements for police and fire but for the rest good luck to them.

Reply to  Bob
July 14, 2023 10:37 am

Second that!

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