This is how much fuel is used by Chorley's Christmas ice rink - but what about the environment?

Chorley’s Christmas ice skating attraction flies in the face of the borough council’s green ambitions, a resident has claimed.

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 9:12 am
Updated Sunday, 19th January 2020, 9:12 am
The ice rink runs for about four weeks around Christmas and new year
The ice rink runs for about four weeks around Christmas and new year

Peter Malpas says he was left cold after learning that the pop-up rink - which operates on St. Thomas’ Square for around a month in December and early January - got through almost £10,000 in fuel in 2018. That was £2,500 more than it had cost to power the venue two years earlier.

“I could heat my home for 10 years for that amount,” said Mr. Malpas, who is chair of a local Conservative Party branch.

“Now that the council has got its green agenda, can it really justify using that much oil? I don’t know what the CO2 emissions are from all that - not to mention the fact that it’s a big old bill.”

The attraction cost the authority a total of £35,000 in 2018 - £21,000 more than had been allocated in its events budget, according to papers presented to a meeting of the full council last year.

But the Labour leader of Chorley Council said that yet-to-be-published figures for the 2019 season will show that the borough’s efforts to lessen the environmental impact of the event were successful.

“Measures were put in place to ensure that the equipment - mainly the generator - used at this year’s ice rink operated as efficiently as possible, both economically and environmentally, leading to a reduction of over 13 percent on this year’s fuel spend,” Cllr Alistair Bradley said.

“The ice rink is always a really popular attraction and we regularly look to see how we can make things more environmentally-friendly when planning this and other events.

“As part of our commitment to the Green Agenda we are always looking at alternative ways of doing things.”

The authority last year established a task group to determine what actions it could take to boost its environmental credentials. A report is expected in the spring, but interim recommendations include “embedding green considerations in all decision-making”. The council also became one of many to declare a “climate emergency” in 2019.

Cllr Steve Holgate, chair of the green agenda task group, accepted that there is an environmental cost to the ice rink attraction.

“But there could also be an environmental benefit, because it brings families into Chorley - some of them on public transport - who might otherwise have travelled further afield that day to do their shopping,” he said.

In 2018, the fuel costs for the ice rink were £9,745, compared to £7,318 in 2016.