The second phase of Sport England’s Swimming Pool Support Fund has been applied for by Wealden District Council in partnership with East Sussex County Council and its leisure operator, Freedom Leisure.

The funding, if received, will help deliver several interventions to make the centres more energy efficient and help the council meet its commitment to being carbon net zero by 2050 or sooner.

This phase of support sees £40 million of government funding being made available for local authorities to invest in improving the energy efficiency of public facilities with swimming pools in the medium to long term.

Funding has been applied for – for several interventions across the district’s three-leisure centres located in Crowborough, Hailsham and Uckfield, including:

  • Installation of PV solar to offset grid electricity usage
  • Introducing micro-infiltration systems which use reduced energy and less water than traditional sand filters
  • Installing destratification fans to help bring down wasted warm air from the roof space to the pool side, where the heat is most needed
  • Pool covers to reduce the heat loss from the pool, in turn reducing gas consumption and associated costs for heating the pool

Should funding be received and all the interventions delivered, it is estimated in excess of 178 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent could be saved per annum. A decision on whether the council is successful in its application will be made by the end of January 2024.

Councillor Kelvin Williams, Alliance for Wealden (Liberal Democrat), and lead councillor for Public Health, Wellbeing and Asset Management, said, “The funding we have applied for is vital to make environmental changes to our public facilities with swimming pools.

“We have different interventions that if put in place, will enable our public facilities to become more energy efficient, perform at their best and excel us to becoming a step closer to becoming net zero by 2050 or sooner.

“This forms part of the new Alliance Council Strategy to support the future of our swimming pool facilities within Wealden.”

Unfortunately, the council was unsuccessful in its application for Phase 1 of the Swimming Pool Support Fund. In that round, £20m of funding was available to all local authorities across England towards supporting facilities with swimming pools that face increased cost pressures, leaving them most vulnerable to closure or significant service reduction.