Physical activity sector bodies have warned that the huge increases in energy prices pose a ‘clear and present threat’ to swimming pools. Figures from ukactive show that the total energy bill for the leisure sector has risen from £500m in 2019 to between £1.0 – £1.2bn for this year. Energy cost increases of such magnitude – between 100 -150% – are already forcing pool owners and operators to increase prices and consider closures.
Swim England, ukactive, Community Leisure UK and other industry representatives – including swimming pool owners and operators – attended a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Swimming in Westminster in April. They called for the government to work with them to deliver the support needed to ensure swimming pools can continue to provide their services at an affordable cost for users, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups.
Speaking after the meeting, Swim England CEO, Jane Nickerson, said: “We know the huge role swimming plays in the health and wellbeing of the nation – the physical and mental health benefits of swimming for people of all ages are many and are undoubted. Swimming saves the NHS and social care system a minimum of £357 million per year.
“This has never been more important than after the past two years but the energy crisis poses a clear and present threat to the future of many facilities.
“With 40 per cent of people who exercise in the water not doing any other form of exercise, the loss of these facilities would be disastrous.