Cremation energy scheme approved
A plan to re-use energy generated by a crematorium incinerator to heat a public swimming pool has been given the go-ahead by councillors.
Members of Redditch Borough Council hope the scheme to divert heat from waste gases from the crematorium into a nearby leisure centre will save the authority more than £14,000 a year.
Work on the link between the Worcestershire town's crematorium and the nearby Abbey Leisure Centre, which is being redeveloped, will now begin in the summer.
Welcoming the full council's decision, the local authority's leader Carole Gandy acknowledged that the cremation process was a sensitive matter, but stressed that the proposals had widespread support.
The councillor said: "I am pleased to say that since news of the proposals broke and following consultation we undertook in Redditch, about 80 to 90% of the responses received by email, letter, phone calls and messages posted online, have been in favour of the idea.
"Many respondents have in fact praised the council for being so innovative and for being willing to discuss the idea openly."
She added: "Throughout we have been careful to explain how the technology would work, that it is tried and trusted, and that the practice is quite common in parts of Europe and especially in Sweden.
"We already support our residents to insulate their homes and be energy efficient, so it seemed only right for us to explore this re-use of energy, on top of introducing solar panels and electric vehicles and other climate change measures we are currently putting into practice."
The scheme has previously been criticised by the Unison trade union, which described the Conservative-run council's cost-saving proposals as "insulting and insensitive".