THE city's main hospitals will have 'reliable heat and power' for the first time in decades after the completion of a £14.8m energy project.

The new engine, boilers and heat pipe link between the Churchill and John Radcliffe has already saved Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust £231,000 in its first month.

It replaced old boilers and saw a new energy centre created at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Head of operational estates and facilities management for OUH, Claire Hennessy, said: “This is a new era of sustainable energy provision for the trust.

"For the first time in decades, we are going into the winter with reliable heat and power, while also cutting our Carbon Dioxide emissions and saving on our energy bills and backlog maintenance."

The Trust revealed its energy bill for the two hospitals in October 2016 was £484,175 and the same bill for last month was £252,832.

Chief executive Dr Bruno Holthof said it was 'exceptionally good news' but it may not be representative of savings for a full year.

Project manager at OUH, Mark Bristow, said no operations were cancelled or appointments missed during the extensive scheme.

He said: "It is testament to the skill and commitment of everyone involved in this project that it was completed without interrupting patient care at either hospital.

"No outpatient appointments or operations were cancelled as a result of the works."

Work began on the scheme inside the John Radcliffe grounds in November 2015 but controversy hit when it moved to the streets of Headington.

Contractors Vital Energi began digging up All Saints Road prematurely in January 2016 and Oxfordshire County Council told them to relay the road until they had planning permission.

Its application was declared invalid by Oxford City Council before it was given the go-ahead in September 2016.

Residents then complained the scheme, which clashed with the Access to Headington project, caused six months of gridlock.

But project development director of Vital Energi, Ashley Malin, said the scheme would also bring benefits to the local area by cutting emissions.

He said: "In addition to the significant financial savings, this project also delivers significant benefits to the local community in lower Carbon Dioxide emissions.

"Vital Energi would also like to thank the many residents and councillors who gave us such support at our monthly liaison meetings - your involvement and local knowledge were very valuable."

The Trust's chief executive Dr Bruno Holthof said: "The Energy Link work through Headington caused disruption and the Trust is very grateful to residents for their support and understanding."