The renewable energy sector received a timely boost this week as plans to use energy from a crematorium to heat a council swimming pool were approved.

Redditch Borough Council voted in favour of plans to heat Abbey Stadium Leisure Centre using energy from the town’s crematorium, despite Unison leaders branding the idea ‘sick and an insult to local residents’. Not so, was the response from local residents following a consultation conducted by Redditch Borough Council.

According to Council leader Carole Gandy, some 80-90% of the responses received by email, letter, phone calls and messages posted online were in favour of the idea, which the Council says would result in savings of £14,560 a year. Indeed, given that nearby Warwick District Council has been using a similar method to heat buildings for about 15 years, one might wonder what all the fuss is about.

Quite rightly, death is a sensitive subject (but certainly one that can not be avoided), and initiatives such as this bring new meaning to the phrase ‘you can’t take it with you’ in terms of giving something back to the community. But surely if you have already elected to have your earthly remains cremated, what’s the big deal? And if it means that people can be that little bit warmer when enjoying a swim, why not indeed!

In all seriousness though, the announcement is great news for the renewable energy sector, at a time when ‘green fatigue’ threatens to push green issues further down the mainstream media agenda. Just last week, a report by Barclays highlighted how the path to a low carbon Europe has largely depended on government initiatives, so an announcement such as this serves as a timely reminder to us all that the health of the renewable energy sector is vital to all our futures.

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