Monday, March 19, 2007

Extra pollution from cars if Jubilee is closed

I've been doing some calculations on additional carbon emissions that would occur from a rise in car use if the Jubilee Swiming Pool closed.

What I've done is to compare the carbon emissions from walking a short distance, say 1km, to the local pool, with driving say 5km to a new pool when constructed at Hengrove Park, in a medium sized petrol engined car (some will drive further of course). It is reasonable to assume that this shift from walking to driving will happen a lot should Jubilee close, if people want to continue to swim, especially if elderly people or kids are involved .

Basically I've found that walking is between 15 to 30 times more energy efficient per km. Walking to Jubilee would mean carbon emissions of approx 15 grams per visit, which is easily environmentally sustainable. Driving to a new pool at Hengrove would emit 2kg (2000 grams) of carbon ie an environmentally unsustainable 133 times more (due to the longer distance and the much lower efficiency of car travel combined; photo represents the carbon increase to scale).

Carbon emissions from travel of 2kg per visit amounts to approximately a mans own weight in carbon each year if he drives 5km to a pool about once a week! In contrast walking to Jubilee the same number of times produces just 0.75 kg - less than a bag of sugar.

The point of all this is to show that taking a purely financial decision to close the pool is very narrow minded. The preliminary calculations I've done show that locally available services and facilities like swimming pools have a value to our community and wider society beyond money. If we are to become a low carbon 'green city' for instance (and the City Council is currently blowing this particular trumpet loudly!) we need to measure the value of local facilities not only in financial terms but also in social and environmental terms terms. We dont know what the total impact of the loss of Jubilee would be because we aren't measuring everything, yet despite this the council has already decided that the pool will close - not a green decision or a green approach to the issue at all.

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