Concerns Weston ice rink will harm environment

PUBLISHED: 06:06 10 November 2019

Icescape at The Tropicana.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Icescape at The Tropicana. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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Concerns have been raised about how Weston-super-Mare's Icescape At The Tropicana may harm the environment.

Icescape at The Tropicana.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONIcescape at The Tropicana. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

To keep the winter ice rink cool, thousands of litres of water are needed and tonnes of carbon dioxide are produced.

There have been fears that this does not fit North Somerset Council's environmental agenda, having declared a climate emergency in the past year.

Councillor Mike Bell said Icescape was an important attraction for Weston and argued the authority's aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 was compatible with the need to provide leisure activities, income and jobs.

The covered rink is billed as the largest in the UK and the firm said it is also one of the greenest.

Cllr Bell said: "It's right that the council and all businesses who work with us consider the environmental impacts.

"As a council, we're on a journey to try to do things better and won't get everything right or achieve everything on day one.

"However, it is our job to balance the need to provide leisure activities, income and jobs with the commitment we have to the environment.

"I don't believe these are incompatible objectives."

Icescape will run until January 5.

Cllr Robert Payne said: "Although I consider that Icescape at the Tropicana is a really exciting attraction for the town, and probably the best of its kind in the region, I am very concerned about the impact on our carbon footprint.

"It is essential that we consider the emissions from everything we do. We can't continue as we are.

"There are new technologies being developed which use more sustainable refrigerants and which are gradually being introduced into Canada, where there are a significant number of ice rinks due to the popularity of ice hockey."

Cllr Payne said Icescape should invest in similar technologies or install a synthetic ice rink which would use no water or energy.

He added: "I would prefer that the operation is more imaginative to make it wholly sustainable, rather than just removing it altogether, along with the economic benefit."

A spokesman for Icescape and the council said the rink at the Tropicana is cooled with the most energy efficient technology on the market.

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