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Canterbury on Ice rink in Dane John gardens branded 'climate disaster'

A Christmas ice rink in the city will be an “environmental disaster”, say climate campaigners.

Canterbury on Ice is set to open in the Dane John Gardens on November 29, and run right through to January 1.

An indoor ice rink similar to that at Bluewater will be in the Dane John from the end of this month. Photo: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire
An indoor ice rink similar to that at Bluewater will be in the Dane John from the end of this month. Photo: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire

But the city council - which declared a climate emergency earlier this year - has been forced to admit it did not consider the environmental impact of the festive attraction in Canterbury.

It says two diesel generators will provide power to the rink and food concessions, consuming between 60,000 and 90,000kWh of electricity - enough to fuel 20 homes for a year.

About 46,000 litres of water will also be pumped into the rink from a fire hydrant.

Campaigner Adam Daniel, who obtained the figures from the council, said: “This was a poorly thought out plan by the council placing potential profits as the main driver, not the environment.

“Will it be an environmental disaster? Yes. Will it even make economic sense? Who knows.”

The rink will be in the Dane John Gardens
The rink will be in the Dane John Gardens

The city council admits it did not carry out an environmental impact assessment on the in-house project.

Spokesman Rob Davies said: “The decision to run an ice rink this year was taken prior to the climate change declaration.

“But we would accept the point that the way it is being delivered in this, its first year, is not the most environmentally friendly.

“This issue has been considered and we are going ahead because it will be a great festive attraction, provide jobs for local people and boost the economy.”

The authority hopes the rink will become a permanent fixture in the city’s events calendar, saying it will make changes to “ensure it leaves a much smaller environmental footprint” in future.

"The climate emergency does not simply mean you stop doing stuff..."

Diesel generators could be a thing of the past, as the authority has earmarked £200,000 in next year’s budget to install an electricity supply in the Dane John to cater for events taking place in the park.

“We only decided to go ahead with the rink this year, without delaying for a year until we got the new electricity supply in place, on the clear understanding that we would indeed get that installed,” Mr Davies added.

“Will the ice rink ever be a zero-carbon event? Probably not, but that’s OK. It goes back to the point about getting the right balance. The climate emergency does not simply mean you stop doing stuff.

“But it does mean you have to consider it in everything you do, make every effort to ensure it is as environmentally-friendly as possible, and look at ways you can offset its impact.”

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