A NEW partnership is set to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs at a leisure centre and shared site school.

The Forest of Dean District Council has joined up with Freedom Leisure and The Dean Academy in Lydney for the eco-friendly initiative.

Deputy council leader and cabinet member for communities, Cllr Paul Hiett (Progressive Independents, Bream), said: “This is a great step towards tackling the climate emergency in the Forest of Dean.

“To be able to actively support the leisure centre and school in addressing and cutting carbon emissions will help to not only reduce the energy usage, but also to help protect the leisure centre and school against rising energy costs.

“This is just the start of this fantastic project and I’d like to personally thank all staff and partners who have been involved in bringing this partnership together and look forward to making a real difference by reducing carbon in the Forest.”

Last year, the Forest Council was successful with seven other partners from across Europe in securing funding as part of the AURORA Project to support community decarbonisation and to set-up the Forest Energy Community Initiative.

This will see members of the council and partners work directly with communities to reduce their carbon emissions and to establish a community solar scheme through a community energy initiative.

Cabinet member for climate emergency, Cllr Chris McFarling (Green, St Braivels) said: “It is of great encouragement to see local and international partners coming together to reduce carbon footprints.

“This project will help demonstrate to young people that we can best tackle the climate emergency by working together.”

Over the next two years the partnership between the council and leisure centre operators Freedom Leisure and Dean Academy will be sharing data to set out how to decarbonise and reduce energy usage and energy costs at the centre, and cut the risks of high energy prices on the facilities.

Angela Brown of Freedom Leisure said: “Operating a leisure centre, particularly with a swimming pool, can use a lot of energy.

“Working with local partners and putting measures in place to reduce our carbon emissions and rising energy costs can only be good for our service, the planet and the community we serve.”

Jayne Barnett, of The Dean Academy, said: “We are about the future.

“Our students learn and ask about the climate emergency nearly every day and working with partners including the district council we can learn from each other and our community and take direct action to tackle and reduce our carbon emissions.”

This is the first major step in the initiative and local residents and interested groups are being encouraged to sign up for further updates as the project develops at: http://eepurl.com/h5l4lf

Further information on the AURORA Project can be found at news.fdean.gov.uk/news/

The AURORA Forest Energy Community Initiative website can be found at aurora-h2020.eu/fod-home/