Funding sustains town pool

TENS-OF-THOUSANDS-OF-POUNDS in specialist funding will allow Portishead’s Open Air Pool to go green and remain sustainable for many years to come.

The seafront lido has been chosen as one of 18 projects across the South West to benefit from funding aimed at stimulating the bioheat industry.

This will allow a new �100,00 boiler to be installed in time for the new season, reducing pool heating costs by �6,000 a year, and trustees say the initiative could not have come at a better time.

This year, financial support from North Somerset Council will be reduced to �1,000. The unitary authority agreed to support the pool with a grant of �48,000 payable over the first three years of its management by the trust. �47,000 was received in the first two.

Trustees have been seeking a cheaper and greener source of heating for the pool since they took over the management of the amenity in 2009.

Oil usage currently equates to one litre of oil per swimmer and directors have been searching for a viable, more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method to heat the water. Solar panels were also investigated.

As part of the project, the old oil burning boilers that currently heat the outdoor pool will be made redundant and replaced with a new biomass boiler.

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This will be funded by leading renewable energy supplier, Good Energy, and the South West Regional Development Agency. It will see a new wood pellet boiler provide the primary heating source for the water in the pool, while the existing 40–year-old boilers will be retained as a backup.

Portishead Pool Community Trust chairman David Coombes said: “This is a great development for the pool, enabling us to replace ageing equipment, save on heating costs, and significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

“We are delighted to receive support from the South West RDA in getting this project off the ground and that Good Energy has chosen Portishead Pool as one of its community renewable heat projects.”

The new boiler will cut the pool’s fossil-fuel usage by 80 per cent.