Stoke-on-Trent mine water 'could be used for heating'
Water from Staffordshire's disused mines could be used to provide electricity and heating for buildings.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to generate electricity from water pumped out of the mines in order to heat buildings owned by the authority.
It is hoped the whole scheme, which will create some jobs for the area, will be working within 20 years.
If the plans go ahead, the council claims it would be the first scheme of its kind in England.
The system works by pumping the water out of the mines, extracting the heat from it and using a heat exchanger to pump it around the buildings.
Prof Peter Styles, a geophysicist at Keele University, said similar schemes had already been successful in the Netherlands and Poland.
He said: "We've forgotten about local sources of heat and energy because we've been pampered by having access to cheap North Sea gas and we need to be a bit smarter.
"It's not rocket science, it's just extracting heat which is naturally there in the ground and re-injecting it elsewhere - it's a cyclical process."
Mr Styles, who suggested the idea to the council, also said the North Staffordshire coal field was one of the hottest and could get up to 43C (109F) in some places.
Andy Platt, cabinet member for Green Enterprises and City Services at the council, said: "In the long-term we want to be energy self-sufficient and off the grid.
"We need to take the long-term view, energy prices are going up all the time and this isn't just about homes, we need to ensure that Stoke-on-Trent is attracting business too."
A spokesperson from the council said developer AECOM was working with the authority for the next 12 months to progress the plans.