Derbyshire Dales District Council has secured a £734,006 government grant through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to replace and upgrade ageing plant and equipment at Ashbourne Leisure Centre. The installation of new energy efficient state-of-the-art equipment will reduce running costs, cut carbon emissions by 56% and contribute towards the district’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The Ashbourne facility is operated on behalf of the District Council by Freedom Leisure. The scheme has been modelled by Leisure Energy, who are specialist energy management consultants within the leisure sector and carried out other energy saving works in the facility in 2019.

The District Council, supported by Leisure Energy and Freedom Leisure, submitted a bid to the PSDS, which provides grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures, encouraging green investment by public sector organisations, whilst supporting the government’s “Plan for Jobs” initiative.

Tim Braund, Director of Regulatory Services, announced the grant award to members at a full meeting of the District Council on 4th March. In recent years the Council and Freedom Leisure have provided investment in the facility with new boilers, air handling units and the replacement of inefficient lights to new energy efficient LED fittings. The new grant money will be spent installing high-tech air source heat pumps whilst retaining the new gas boilers as a back-up arrangement and 180 photo voltaic solar panels to generate electricity to provide power to the heat pumps. Additional measures include upgrades to the building’s control systems, further air handling upgrades and the necessary electrical infrastructure, which will also result in further energy conservation and cost savings.

The work is due to commence in May and will complete in approximately four months.

The implementation of these energy saving measures under the scheme will provide the following benefits in terms of both the centre’s energy usage and for the wider community:

  • A saving of 123 tonnes or a 56% reduction in the annual carbon emissions at Ashbourne Leisure Centre which is equivalent to a saving of CO2 emissions from the annual heating of over 53 homes.
  • Energy cost savings of 4% which will contribute towards lowering the running costs at the centre.
  • A significant contribution towards the Council’s target of making the district carbon neutral by 2030.
  • An enhanced customer experience through improved environmental controls
  • Enables Council funds to be spent on other community projects.

District Council Leader, Councillor Garry Purdy said: “Climate Change was at the top of my agenda when I took on the leadership of the council in May 2019 and I am delighted that we now have a clear pathway towards achieving by 2030 net zero in terms of the Council’s direct emissions. Innovative projects such as this will make a significant contribution.”

Ivan Horsfall Turner Managing Director Freedom Leisure, said: “Minimising environmental impact is a priority for Freedom Leisure right across our organisation. The news that Derbyshire Dales District Council has been successful in their bid for a £734,014 Government grant to support a plant and equipment improvement project that will cut carbon emissions by 56% is fantastic.

“We are confident that our partnership with Derbyshire Dales District Council and Leisure Energy will successfully deliver a project that will achieve the expected outcomes.”

Neil Bland, MD of Leisure Energy commented: “Leisure Energy is delighted to be working again with Derbyshire Dales District Council towards its target to become net-zero carbon by 2030 by implementing further upgrades at the facility and demonstrating that the Council are at the forefront of embracing new energy efficient technology.”

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