Work has begun on a multi-million pound project that will eliminate onsite CO2 emissions generated by Salt Ayre Leisure Centre in an ambitious bid to be one of the first such facilities in the UK to be net carbon zero.
Lancaster City Council has received £6.8million in funding from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to replace the leisure centre’s gas boilers with air source heat pumps, provide external LED lighting and upgrade glazing to reduce energy consumption.
A solar farm is also being 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.
Due to funding requirements the project needs to be completed by the end of September 2021, meaning the centre will be a hive of activity over the coming months.
Construction work will be phased to minimise disruption, but there will be some short term changes to the facilities available to customers.
The contractors’ compound will be in place on the centre’s rear car park, reducing the number of spaces available. From July 5-7 the centre’s main boiler will need to be shut down, unfortunately meaning that there will be no showers for swimming pool customers. The spa facility remains unaffected.
There will be partial closures to the swimming pool although the council and contractors are working hard to minimise disruption. Customers will be provided with plenty of advanced notice at Lancaster.gov.uk/saltayre and Facebook.com/saltayre.
Councillor Kevin Frea, deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for climate action, said: “This is a hugely ambitious project that shows a real statement of intent by the council to drive down its emissions.
“Salt Ayre is the biggest emitter of CO2 of all the council’s buildings and this scheme alone will reduce its overall carbon footprint by as much as 12%, slashing emissions by as much as 439 tonnes a year. To put that into context, it’s the equivalent of heating 406 homes across the district, which is a massive overall saving.
“We know that we have a huge challenge ahead of us to achieve our ambition of becoming net-zero carbon by 2030 but this project, along with many others in the pipeline, will make a significant contribution.”