Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are set to make further significant CO2 savings, thanks to a £1.4m Government grant for carbon-saving measures at their leisure centres, and other buildings.

Funds are expected to see solar PV panels and air source heat pumps installed on the council-owned sites so they can begin to move away from fossil-fuelled heating systems. These include Hadleigh Pool and Leisure, Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, and Wenham Depot.

Separately, Kingfisher Leisure Centre is also expected to have a hybrid air source heat pump, and Stradbroke Pool and Fitness Centre should see solar PV panels installed.

The funds are thanks to the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which supports capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects within public sector non-domestic buildings.

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, said:

“This is another important and vital step towards achieving our climate ambitions, and making Babergh greener and cleaner.

“This money enables us to further advance our climate change ambitions by decarbonising some of our major assets, while also supporting improved health and wellbeing for our communities.”

The funds build on a £25k Government Low Carbon Skills Fund grant given to the councils back in January, to start the feasibility work required for the projects.

Works will also form part of the councils’ Carbon Reduction Management Plan, which sets out how the councils aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:

“We want to be setting an example for our districts when it comes to reducing carbon emissions – and this funding and work is a vital step in that process.

“Our leisure centres are one of our largest sources of CO2e – so putting in place measures which use less energy and heat, and making them more self-sufficient is crucial if we’re to reach our carbon ambitions over coming years.”

Jack Saunders, programme manager at Salix Finance, said:

“We’re really pleased that Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have benefited from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

“Installing air source heat pumps and Solar PV at four leisure centres and a depot is a great step towards reaching their Carbon Reduction Management Plan of net-zero target by 2030. We look forward to continuing to support the councils with any future plans.”

Solar PV panels will help to decarbonise the buildings, by providing renewable electricity to the centres, in order to power the air source heat pumps.

Air source heat pumps, which draw their heat from the air, will provide a more energy efficient method of heating the buildings. This will help move away from and replace existing fossil-fuel heating systems, while also significantly reducing the amount of electricity needed to run the system.

All works are subject to ongoing feasibility studies at the sites, and will link in with solar carport pilots at two centres. These will determine exactly what measures are possible, as well as more precise data on expected carbon savings for the council.

Final details are expected to be scoped out during Spring, ahead of formal procurement of a contractor to carry out the works later in the year.