Sport England has awarded Alton Sports Centre almost £400,000 for new solar panels to help improve energy efficiency and cut CO2 emissions.

East Hampshire District Council worked with centre operators Everyone Active on the successful bid to the Sport England Swimming Pool Support fund.

The £390,825 grant will be put towards solar voltaic panels and battery storage.

Council leader, Richard Millard (Conservative, Headley), said: “Our swimming pools and leisure centres are vital community resources and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active.

“The money received from the Sport England Swimming Pool Support fund is fantastic news and will improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint at Alton Sports Centre.”

Cllr Millard said the cash boost will help meet the council’s goal to become net zero by 2035, as well as Everyone Active’s own net zero goals. The project at Alton Sports Centre is anticipated to deliver an annual saving of 51 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of planting 2,355 trees.

Alton Sports Centre boasts two large swimming pools

A climate emergency was announced by the council in July 2019 and it adopted a wide-ranging climate and environment strategy in August 2020. However, the council is currently refreshing its strategy and will publish a new version in early-2024.

Everyone Active contract manager Chris West said: “We are delighted the council has been successful in Phase II of the funding and it is great news that this project will further reduce the centre’s carbon footprint. 

“The implementation of the solar panels at Alton Sports Centre marks a significant step towards reducing the leisure centre’s carbon footprint and simultaneously lowering energy costs.”

The awarding of the funding was a joint project from The Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF), administered by Sport England run by the DCMS, and lottery funding equating to £20 million of the nationwide fund.