Two North Somerset swimming pools awarded £270k to make them greener


Hutton Moor Leisure Centre and Portishead Open Air Pool have both received funding for new power systems that will significantly improve their carbon outputs, making them greener and better for the environment.

Swimming pools require large amounts of energy to run. This carries a significant carbon cost, as well as a financial burden for the operators. North Somerset Council have successfully secured funding to install brand-new electric solar (PV) systems – which convert light directly into electricity – at two local pools. 

They have been awarded more than £129k to install a PV system at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre’s swimming pool, and to add insulation to the site’s plant room. As a result, it is estimated that the site will save 28.17 tonnes of carbon per year. 

To try and minimise disruption to users, this work is set to take place alongside other scheduled improvement projects at Hutton Moor. The pool will remain open while the work takes place, and it’s hoped that the project will be completed within a year. 

The council was also awarded more than £140k for works at Portishead Open Air Pool. As well as installing a PV system, they will also add solar thermal power to the site, which will use solar power to heat the water. It is hoped that the pool can remain open while these works are carried out. The Portishead Open Air Pool Trust – which manages the day-to-day running of the site – will be organising and overseeing the works. 

Councillor Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve secured £270k of funding, so we can upgrade two of our swimming pools. 

“We know how much our residents value the pool at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre and Portishead Open Air Swimming Pool, so it’s great that we can continue to invest in them and make them greener spaces.

“By switching to electric solar (PV) systems, we can cut out a chunk of our carbon emissions at these sites. At Hutton Moor Leisure Centre alone, we’re projected to save more than 28 tonnes of carbon a year. This will help in our goal to become a carbon neutral council by 2030.”

Councillor Ciaran Cronnelly, a local ward member for Winterstoke, added: “I’m delighted that we’re continuing to invest in Hutton Moor Leisure Centre, which is an important community asset. We all know running swimming pools is expensive, and I welcome this initiative which will help us reduce energy costs and improve sustainability.”

Councillor Timothy Snaden, local ward member for Portishead North, said: “This is great news for Portishead Open Air Pool. By introducing solar thermal power and a PV system, we can cut down on energy costs at the site and protect our environment, helping to ensure future generations can enjoy the space.”

These grants come from the Swimming Pool Support Fund, which is administered by Sport England. This is providing £60 million to facilities with swimming pools across England. The fund is designed to help reduce swimming pools’ energy consumption and carbon output, by paying for improvement works such as installing PV systems, LED lights and pool covers. 

In total 264 local authorities have received a share of the funding. £20m has been provided by Sport England via the National Lottery, and just over £40m has been provided by the government as part of their commitment to support the long-term sustainability of public leisure.