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Funding for £400k Faringdon Leisure Centre refurbishment helps the Vale of White Horse to become carbon neutral.

Faringdon leisure centre is to get a £400,000 refurbishment with the potential to reduce its carbon footprint by 500,000 kwh over a year – the equivalent of the annual energy use of 135 houses. 

The Vale of White Horse District Council has been awarded a £361,746 grant from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The rest of the funding needed will come from S106 money. 

The refurbishment will enable centre to use low carbon and renewable energy by replacing gas boilers with air source heat pumps powered with new solar panels. 

In February 2019 the council joined a growing number of local authorities and other organisations in declaring a climate emergency. The council is calling on the government to support action on climate change locally. 

All councils in Oxfordshire are signed up to carbon reduction targets through the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy and are committed to a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emission between 2008 and 2030. 

The Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) recommended that the Vale of White Horse reduce carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030. The council has also committed to becoming a carbon neutral district by 2045. 

In their Corporate Plan, published last year, Vale Cabinet members identified Tackling the Climate Emergency and Building Healthy Communities as two of their key priorities. 

Cllr Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This funding is going to make a real difference to the work we are doing on tackling the climate emergency. Hopefully, this refurbishment is just the start of what we can do in our drive to reduce our carbon footprint.”  

Cllr Bethia Thomas, ward councillor for Faringdon and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “This project is good news for Faringdon and the council. These refurbishments will bring a new lease of life to our leisure centre not only helping to keep residents and customers active and healthy, but once this work is completed, the environment will be healthier too.”  

The work on this project will start this month. 

The council’s officers are now commissioning studies to help them seek further funding for the decarbonisation of more leisure centres. 

Note to editors 

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme provides grants for public sector bodies to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures.  You can find out more about it on the government website 

More information about the Vale of White Horse Corporate Plan can be found on our website  

We use Section 106 (S106) agreements to raise money for infrastructure to support new housing developments. 

We draw up a S106 agreement before we grant planning permission, so the developer is legally bound to deliver the infrastructure we’ve agreed. Money is collected from the developer once the planning permission is implemented and when certain points in the agreement have been met.