Ashford Borough Council has secured a £2m Government grant to replace the ageing power plant at Tenterden Leisure Centre with a state-of-the-art system which will slash running costs, cut carbon emissions and provide a boost to bold ambitions to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030.

The Council is also investing more than £465k in the ambitious project, taking the total to nearly £2.5m. Installation work is due to begin this week.

Ashford submitted a bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) via Salix Finance, which provides grants for public sector bodies to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures. The £1bn scheme is part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs 2020 to support the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

The Council has secured a grant of £2m from the PSDS towards the cost of the scheme, which will see the replacement of the existing gas fired heating plant with high-tech air to water heat pumps, along with other improvements including the installation of PV solar panels to provide the electricity to power the new system.

Benefits of the scheme include:

  • Reduction of Tenterden Leisure Centre’s annual carbon emission total by 320 tonnes (the equivalent of taking 168 fossil fuel cars off the road).

  • A significant contribution to the Council’s goal of making the borough 100% carbon neutral by 2030

  • Frees up vital Council funds to be spent on other priority projects

This new work follows the updating of the centre’s plant during 2022, which saw a new pool air handling unit, combined with an air source heat pump, new pool filtration vessels and new control panels.

As air source heating is electrically powered, the generation of electricity on site supports this method of heating, which is why a solar PV installation is also included in the scheme.   Further efficiencies will be achieved by the installation of more energy efficient pumps and motors, and upgrades to the building management system software and controls.

The Council is delivering the improvements in partnership with specialist leisure consultants Alliance Leisure, who are managing the project, with Leisure Energy contracted for the installations.

“We applied for the grant as part of our bold commitment to be 100% carbon neutral by 2030, with an 80% reduction target by 2025. I am delighted that work is underway and I look forward to the scheme delivering real benefits for the Council and local people.”
Cllr Matthew Forest
Portfolio Holder for Environment, Property and Recreation
“We are delighted to be working with Ashford Borough Council and Leisure Energy on this important Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funded by Salix. Over 300 tonnes of carbon emissions will be saved, greatly benefiting the local community and the environment.”
Chris Ames
Delivery Manager for Alliance Leisure
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