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Council Responds to ‘Biggest Producer Of Carbon’ Spectrum and Climate Change Targets

Published on: 6 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 7 Dec, 2022

Spectrum Leisure Centre

By Hugh Coakley

Options for the future of Guildford’s leisure centre, Spectrum, said to be the “biggest producer of carbon” amongst the council’s assets, are to be made public next year says the new lead borough councillor for Climate Change, George Potter (Lib Dem, Burpham).

Cllr George Potter

The existing award-winning building and popular venue, managed by Freedom Leisure, will either be “decarbonised” or replaced as part of measures to hit the 2030 net zero carbon target for the council’s operations.

This is a change from the previous announcement in February 2021 where the council had said they were not considering replacing Spectrum “in the short term” (see: We’ll Repair Spectrum, Not Build A New One, Says GBC).

Following The Dragon interview with Cllr Potter, Cllr Ramsey Nagaty (GGG, Shalford) wrote to The Dragon saying Spectrum, was “the elephant in the room” over the target to the net carbon zero by 2030 and had not been mentioned in the interview.

Spectrum building has a high maintenance cost. The roof has leaked since it opened (photo from 2016).

He said: “Guildford has an asset used by many across Surrey, from neighbouring counties, and from London. It is coming to the end of its life and is our biggest producer of carbon.

Cllr Ramsey Nagaty

“To maintain key elements of the centre is expensive but to replace it, with a more environmentally friendly design, even more so.

“The cost, despite serving the wider community, is likely to fall full squarely on GBC and it is critical this issue is addressed to achieve our Climate Change goals.”

See: Letter – The Elephant In GBC’s Net Zero Room Is Energy-Hungry Spectrum

Cllr Potter said: “Guildford Spectrum is a major employer and regional attraction for our town. Around 1.7 million people visit the Spectrum each year to take part in a wide range of sports and other activities.

“Although it has a combined heat and power engine and solar panels on the roof, Spectrum is a major source of carbon emissions and energy costs for us. With the increased price of electricity and natural gas, Guildford Spectrum is more costly to run.

“As such, we are continuing to explore options for either decarbonising the existing building or replacing it as part of our wider ambition to make all of our operations net zero by 2030. Further details will be published next year.”

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