'Crematorium to heat pool' defended
A council has defended "insulting and insensitive" plans to heat a swimming pool with a crematorium incinerator.
Redditch Borough Council in Worcestershire has drawn up proposals to use excess heat generated by the incinerator at the town's crematorium to warm the water for swimmers at the nearby Abbey Stadium Sports Centre.
A spokesman for the Conservative-run authority said: "Redditch Borough Council, with a commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, is considering proposals to re-use energy at its crematorium to heat a nearby leisure centre. The heat would otherwise be exhausted into the atmosphere."
The plans, which will be discussed at a full council meeting on February 7, have been branded "sick" by opponents.
Roger McKenzie, Unison West Midlands regional secretary, said: "These proposals by Redditch Borough Council are sick and an insult to local residents.
"I call on Redditch Borough Council to apologise to local residents for the insulting and insensitive proposals, and to work with Unison to fight for a fairer budget settlement from the Conservative-led Government."
He added: "It goes to show yet again that the Conservatives know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Unfortunately, local authorities are increasingly pursuing desperate polices in a reaction to the unprecedented spending cuts imposed from Whitehall.
"This just shows that the Government's slashing of funding is impacting on the ability of local authorities to provide our services."
The council spokesman added: "Redditch Borough Council recognises this is a sensitive proposal and is therefore keen to ensure everyone interested fully understands the details."
He said a series of "detailed briefings" with the press and public, including local funeral directors and faith groups, would be held on Thursday.