Why boreholes are being drilled in leisure centre car park

Alive Downham Leisure in Downham Market.

Alive Downham Leisure in Downham Market. - Credit: Google

Work has begun at a west Norfolk leisure centre as part of a £3.8m scheme to slash the carbon footprint of council-owned buildings in the area.

The work began on Monday, July 19 to install boreholes in the car park at Alive Downham Leisure, in Downham Market, to allow ground source heat pumps to be installed.

It comes after the first drilling rigs started sinking the boreholes at West Norfolk Council (WNC) depot in May, which the council said is thanks to decarbonisation grants worth more than £3.8m from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Paul Kunes, cabinet member for environment at WNC, said these grants would allow the council to "completely decarbonise" its big buildings including swimming pools and leisure centres by putting in ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and roof solar panels.

He said: “These boreholes are part of a ground source heat pump installation, this will provide net-zero carbon heating to the Alive Downham Leisure building as council premises are supplied by a renewable electricity tariff.

"This work is important for making council buildings more sustainable and decarbonising them.”

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The first stage of digging at Alive Downham Leisure is under way and is expected to take around three weeks.  The rig will then return before the end of August to complete the second round of work.

Mr Kunes said: “Ultimately, switching to a renewable heating system allows for a reduction in the council's carbon footprint.

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"This is really exciting news and means a very big step forward in the council's aim to become carbon neutral as soon as possible.”

Heat pumps will also be installed at other sites including Alive Lynnsport, South Lynn Community Centre and Alive Oasis in Hunstanton.

Mr Kunes previously said they have been reducing CO2 at the council for a number of years but only in "fairly small steps", saying that he hopes they will be leaders in the area with others carrying out similar schemes on their buildings.

The scheme is part of the council’s ongoing Re:Fit programme, as it seeks to remove carbon from its existing stock of buildings. 

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