Homes and businesses in Sutton could soon be heated by rubbish after the council was given a £100,000 Government grant.

The money will be used by Sutton Council to researching how energy generated by a planned incinerator in Beddington Lane could be used to heat nearby homes.

Sutton Guardian: How the proposed incinerator could look by night

How the incinerator will look when it is built iin 2017

The council will contribute £50,000 of its own money into the research with the aim of using energy from the 302,000 tonnes of rubbish the energy recover facility (ERF) will take every year to heat almost 20,000 homes in the area.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey announced Sutton would be among a number of authorities to get grants during a visit to BedZED, an eco-friendly housing development in Beddington that would benefit from the scheme, this morning.

He said: "In urban areas, people are often used to sharing their walls and their roofs with their neighbours – and it can make good sense for them to share the way their homes are heated.

"This cash boost and support will help supply low carbon heat to a whole range of buildings such as multi-story apartments, office buildings and social housing – not only providing more efficient heat to buildings, but potentially bringing heating bills down too.

"I'm delighted Sutton is taking forward its district heating vision. Sutton has always been a leader in green policy. This project could help people cut their energy bills."

Mr Davey, who was joined by Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow and Sutton Councillors Jayne McCoy and Jill Whitehead, got a tour of BioZed, backed by Sutton-based charity BioRegional, during his visit and heard about the council's plans to become a zero-carbon borough by 2025.

Sue Riddlestone, BioRegional's chief executive, said: "The heat network could give many Sutton people a secure, affordable way to heat their homes and make big cuts in their carbon emissions.

"We want it to connect not only to new homes but existing homes and work places, together with insulation to make the heat go further and keep costs down.

"We’re delighted Ed Davey came by to tell us that the department for energy and climate change is joining with Sutton in supporting further work planning this heat network"

Mr Burstow added: "Sutton is in the vanguard of action to deliver cheaper sustainable energy for local people. Having Ed Davey visit is a recognition of that."

The controversial energy recovery facility that will generate the heat for the project by incinerating waste from Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston was given planning permission by Sutton Council last year.

Campaigners have battled against the scheme amid fears emissions from the plant will harm people's health.