Westgate Leisure Centre: Carbon emissions to drop by a quarter thanks to £1.3M grant

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Carbon emissions from Westgate Leisure Centre in Chichester will reduce by almost a quarter thanks to a £1.3 million government decarbonisation grant.

The work funded by the grant includes optimising the centre’s combined heat and power plant; installing solar thermal and electric panels; installing an air source heat pump; and carrying out essential repairs.

The appointed contractor, Veolia, has started work on the site, and is expected to complete the work in the summer.

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The Westgate decarbonisation project was launched to look at ways of reducing emissions of CO2 from the Chichester leisure centre, which is owned by the council but currently managed and run by Everyone Active.

Westgate Leisure CentreWestgate Leisure Centre
Westgate Leisure Centre

Decarbonisation is the term used for the process of removing or reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) output.

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The project is part of the council’s drive to reduce greenhouse emissions. In January 2021, the council approved the Climate Emergency action plan which contained a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent year on year until 2025.

Councillor Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for Environment at Chichester District Council, said: “This is a significant project and is a huge step forward in making our Climate Emergency Action Plan a reality.

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“We expect the changes to reduce the leisure centre’s emissions by 24%. As the leisure centre is one of the council’s biggest sources of reported emissions, this will be a significant step towards meeting our target.

“The Westgate decarbonisation is just one part of the work the council is undertaking to reduce our impact on the environment.

“But our own emissions are just a small part of the district's emissions as a whole, so we are also bringing people and organisations together to help them reduce emissions in their homes, their workplaces, and in other aspects of their lives.

“Carbon reduction is already a key focus in many areas of the council's work, but we all have a very important part to play in making positive changes in our daily lives to help tackle climate change.”

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Cllr Roy Briscoe, cabinet member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, said: “This is a fantastic step forward and demonstrates the desire of the council and our delivery partner, Everyone Active, to provide leisure services that are delivered in an environmentally friendly way.

“Our leisure centres play an important role in improving the health and wellbeing of our communities, and these important steps will mean that they will be able to continue to do this, while also reducing their impact on the environment. We also want to reassure customers that there will be no disruption to services while this work takes place.”

Stuart Mills, area contract manager at Everyone Active, adds: “Leisure centres consume large amounts of energy and so are also significant carbon emitters. Therefore, we are proud to support our partners to tackle this and other operations to help reduce carbon emissions.

“As a business, we’ve developed a comprehensive net-zero strategy to help us become operationally net-zero carbon emitting by 2030. We understand that we all have a responsibility to make the planet a better place to live for one another, and businesses such as ours are no exception.”

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John Abraham, Chief Operating Officer -Veolia UK and Ireland - Industrial, Water and Energy said: "To counter climate change, the world needs to transform how we manage the energy supplies that are vital to businesses, the public sector, and communities.

“For us the road to reducing carbon, and achieving the net zero goal, is a series of steps, each one reducing the carbon footprint for our customers. By delivering savings, both in carbon emissions and energy costs, this latest project highlights what can be achieved now to reach the net zero goal."

For more information about the work the council is doing to help tackle climate change in the district and for details of how individuals, businesses and organisations can play their part too, please visit: www.chichester.gov.uk/climatechange

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