Why is a chlorine shortage forcing UK swimming pools to close?

Hand holding white chlorine tablets over swimming pool skimmer

Britain faces chlorine shortage leading to closure of swimming pools (Picture: Getty)

Swimming pools, lidos and spas across the UK are forced to close temporarily as the country faces chlorine shortages.

As if the impending train strikes and a shortage of 99 Ice Flakes weren’t enough to put a damper on your summer plans – now chlorine supply problems are threatening to shut swimming pools across the UK.

Leisure centers are the latest to be hit by a series of global crises as the chemical used to treat bacterial pests in pool water runs out.

But why is there a chlorine deficiency?

Why is there a chlorine deficiency?

The shortages were attributed to a backlog of supplies from China due to Covid-19, global transportation problems and a fire at a US chemical plant in late 2020.

The war between Ukraine and Russia and Brexit border controls also contributed to the crisis.

A chlorine test kit

Too little chlorine in swimming pools can allow dangerous bacteria to grow in the water (Picture: Getty)

The pool at the Snowdome in Tamworth has been closed since Sunday due to the problem, while pools in Beccles, Suffolk and several in Scotland have had to close.

Shaun Crowley, managing director of Beccles Lido, said that Beccles & Bungay Journal said chlorine prices had doubled — even after hitting record highs earlier this year.

“We’re coping at the moment, we have emergency supplies due to arrive next week but the weather has brought us some bad news,” he said.

Swimming pools may have to close due to national chlorine shortages

Swimming pools could be closed due to the national chlorine shortage (Image: Twitter/David K ​​Smith)

The recent hot weather is also said to cause problems, as “extreme heat on the water” means the chemicals are burning off faster than usual.

It comes as a face for swimming pools and spas Pressure on energy bills also mounted, with the BBC reporting that some are struggling to pay electricity bills to keep the water hot.

A UK Active survey found that without urgent financial support, 79% of public leisure centers could be forced to close in the next six months.

The cost to the industry of keeping pools and spas heated has more than doubled from an estimated £500m in 2019 to around £1.1bn this year.

For larger operators, this means a cost increase of up to 150%.

MORE: How to keep a paddling pool clean and how to store it properly for next summer

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Justin Scacco

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