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Leisure centre decarbonisation project completed

Written by on 02/05/2022

A multi-million pound project to eliminate onsite CO2 emissions generated by Salt Ayre Leisure Centre has been completed.

Lancaster City Council received £6.8million in funding from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to replace the leisure centre’s gas boilers with a two-stage heat pump system, external LED lighting and upgraded glazing to reduce energy consumption.

A solar farm has also been built on the adjacent disused landfill site at Salt Ayre to generate electricity, which will then be provided to the leisure centre using a direct wire. Comprising nearly 3,000 panels, the solar farm is capable of generating enough electricity to fully power the centre during peak times.

The work has reduced the council’s emissions from natural gas by 35%, and along with a new green energy tariff, means Salt Ayre is now one of the first leisure centres in the country to become carbon neutral.

Councillor Kevin Frea, deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for climate action, said: “As the biggest emitter of CO2 of all the council’s buildings it was vital that we tackled Salt Ayre as a priority and I’m delighted to see the project come to fruition.

“Along with the other projects we have in the pipeline, this scheme will go a long way in helping us meet our ambition of becoming net zero carbon by 2030.”

The city council declared a climate emergency in January 2019 and since then has made great strides in cutting its carbon emissions.

In addition to the work at Salt Ayre, around £1million from the PSDS is to be spent on improving the energy efficiency of its buildings.

Works will vary depending on the property but will include a mixture of LED lighting, air and ground source heat pumps, upgraded insulation, secondary glazing and solar PV.

Together it is estimated that these measures could save up to around 133 tonnes of CO2 each year from natural gas and reduce electricity consumption by as much as 231,000 kWh, equivalent to running 80 average homes for a full year.

The council has also committed itself to decarbonising its vehicle fleet and over the next four years plans to replace 52 vehicles with electric alternatives, with the aim of having a fully decarbonised fleet by 2030.