France: Dozens of swimming pools are closing due to rising energy costs

"Their suspension will affect all children and adults who will not be able to learn to swim"

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Sports clubs and educational institutions in France expressed their anger yesterday after the decision to close around 30 swimming pools as their managers said rising heating costs made them no longer viable.

"The suspension of their operation will affect all children and adults who will not be able to learn to swim," reads the announcement of the French Swimming Federation (FFN), which calls for the "immediate" reopening of the pools.

"Vert Marine", which manages swimming pools and ice rinks across France, announced yesterday that its annual energy bill rose to €100 million from €15 million, an amount which - the company claims - is equal to "the total of of its annual revenue.

According to the company, it is up to "local authorities and the government to take the necessary and unprecedented decisions to return to affordable energy costs".

Local authorities are struggling to cope with rising energy bills, which in some areas have doubled, according to France Urbaine, a federation of major cities.

Physical education trade union SNEP has warned that pool closures during the pandemic mean there is already "a generation of 800.000 students who failed to learn to swim in 2020 and 2021".

The Ministry of Sports even promotes learning to swim as a means of avoiding drowning.

Many of France's swimming pools and ice rinks are old and energy-hungry and are about to come under the microscope of a group set up by the government to save energy.

Source: RES-EAP