A CONGESTION charge could be coming to Reading as plans to create Clean Air Zones were outlined by the Government.

Following a High Court ruling the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) listed Reading amongst 40 towns and cities that could see the zones created.

Now council officers are investigating the plans which could see environmentally damaging vehicles banned from the town.

Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, said: "The Government has acknowledged that the problem of air quality is a national one, and a national solution is needed.

"The next step is very clearly for DEFRA to provide clarity on the level of funding available to local authorities to investigate schemes and future funding to implement them.

"There is initial concern local authorities are being asked to consider the removal of some traffic calming measures. In many instances traffic calming measures are only introduced in response to genuine safety concerns expressed by local residents.

“Most urban areas are blighted by pollution and Reading is very much victim of its own success in this respect."

The scheme was first published on Friday, May 5, and included other recommendations such as creating bus priority corridors, and encouraging cycling and walking - steps Reading Borough Council has already taken.

The number of cars entering central Reading has fallen by six per cent from 2008 to 2016, public transport use has risen by 19 per cent in the same period and bus trips increased to 1.2 million last year.

Cllr Page continued: "We have opened two new public transport interchanges at the station, the town’s largest cycle hub, two new park and ride sites at Mereoak and Winnersh, and opened Christchurch Bridge - the new pedestrian and cycle bridge at Caversham.

“It is clear that the Council cannot deliver the solution on its own however, and it is important to note some issues are entirely out of our control. Delays to Network Rail’s electrification project have an effect, and we need train operators to quickly move forward with their investment plans and cease the use of polluting diesel trains."