CONCERNS have been raised that a national shortage of chlorine could force the closure of swimming pools across East Lothian.

enjoyleisure, which manages sports facilities across the county for East Lothian Council, has said that although the issue is “not immediately critical”, there is a problem.

Chlorine is added to the water to kill germs and lessens the chance of swimmers picking up bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli.

A national shortage of chlorine has been reported, with Bill Axon, chief executive of enjoyleisure, confirming that East Lothian was no different.

He warned the industry was facing “genuinely stressful and unpredictable times”.

'Not immediately critical'

Mr Axon told the Courier: “The short answer is yes: we are grappling with problems like every other swimming pool provider in the country; however, due to limited advance purchase, the position is not immediately critical, nonetheless that is only a few weeks not a month or two [away]!

“We are very dependent on timeously getting delivery of our orders and that is outwith our control and it changes by the day!

“The other concern is the school summer holidays, as bather numbers inevitably increase during this time; it has the impact of multiplied use of chemicals to maintain pool water quality.

“On the basis of the above, we are continually monitoring the situation and will take decisions based on real-time facts.”

And he added: “These are genuinely stressful and unpredictable times for our sector, especially as the community health benefits of regular swimming are well known and the negative impact any closures would have for enjoyleisure.”

The charity operates swimming pools throughout the county, with facilities in the Aubigny Sports Centre, Haddington; Dunbar Leisure Pool; the Loch Centre, Tranent; Musselburgh Sports Centre; and North Berwick Sports Centre.

Councillor Colin McGinn, East Lothian Council cabinet spokesperson for community wellbeing, sport, countryside and leisure, said: “The health benefits of swimming are well documented and our pools are valuable community resources for all age groups at all times of the year but particularly during the summer holiday period.

“Officers have worked with enjoy colleagues as part of our business continuity planning to retrofit the dosing systems within our pools to widen the chlorine supply choice used to try and mitigate the risks.

“We continue to support enjoy and monitor the situation caused by national shortages that are out with the control of either organisation.”