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Green energy powering leisure centre in the Vale

Work to install new eco-friendly technology at Faringdon Leisure Centre is near completion.

This makes it the first Vale of White Horse District Council operated facility to have this technology to help cut carbon emissions and make it more cost effective to run.

New air source heat pumps – which work by transferring heat absorbed from the outside air to indoors – have replaced a gas boiler and 200 solar panels are in the final stages of being fitted to the roof.

When completed later this month, the refurbishment will help the building to save around 500,000kWh of energy over a year – the equivalent to the annual electricity use of 135 houses.

The work has been funded by a grant of £361,746 from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which was awarded in 2021. A further £286,000 for the project has come from contributions from developers who have built homes in the area known as CIL, and £58,000 from Oxfordshire County Council as schools regularly use the centre.

The changes to the leisure centre are part of Vale of White Horse District Council’s plans to become a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030, and for the Vale to become a carbon-neutral district by 2045. Carbon neutral is when the carbon we emit through daily activities is balanced by the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere.

Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Not only is this a really positive step forward for us as a council to help us meet climate targets for the district, this decarbonisation work is also going to make it more cost effective to run this leisure centre.

“It will enable us to maintain the facilities more easily and for longer so it can continue to be a great place for families and individuals to stay active and healthy.”

Cllr Sally Povolotsky, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “This is a really exciting moment for everyone at the council. This project has taken us a step closer to meeting our target of reducing carbon emissions across the district and it’s only the start, as we are planning for more of our leisure centres to have the same decarbonisation technology fitted.

“We are going to do everything that we can to help fight the Climate Emergency and make our district a cleaner, greener place to live.”