Hereford & Worcester

Redditch crematorium pool-heating plan wins green award

"Sick" plans to use waste energy from a crematorium in Worcestershire to heat a council swimming pool have won a national award for being green.

Redditch Borough Council approved the plans in February to heat the 25m pool at Abbey Stadium Leisure Centre using energy from the town's crematorium.

It estimated the crematorium would meet 42% of the centre's heating demands.

Union Unison said the plan was "sick" and "insulting". The Green Organisation said its award praised green practices.

'Widespread support'

More than 100 British companies and organisations were nominated for the award and previous winners have included Marks and Spencer and Severnside Recycling.

Ceridwen John, the council's climate change manager, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have won this award, which is not only for us but also for the community of Redditch as a whole.

"It was local residents' widespread support for our proposal back in January, and public responses made, which helped drive forward the council's decision to proceed with the scheme."

She said she hoped the crematorium heating plan would now be adopted by other councils and organisations.

The Conservative-controlled council said the scheme would help it to save £14,560 per year.

'Death then pleasure'

Simon Thomas, managing director of Thomas Brothers Funeral Directors, said he was initially against the "eerie" scheme but had since come round to the idea.

He said: "The one thing that was a little insensitive was that this energy was going to be used for recreational purposes. One minute there's death, then the next there's pleasure.

"But about a week after it was first announced we had my Aunt Mal's death. She would have been quite happy about it.

"She was a very jolly lady and she wouldn't have minded helping to heat a swimming pool, especially in these times when we are all trying to save money.

"I now think it's a good thing and congratulations to them."

When the policy was announced in January Unison called on the council to apologise for the "insensitive" plans. Roger McKenzie, the union's West Midlands regional secretary, said: "Unfortunately, local authorities are increasingly pursuing desperate polices in a reaction to the unprecedented spending cuts imposed from Whitehall."

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