THE COUNCIL'S ambitious target of reducing its carbon footprint by 50 per cent is on the verge of being met three years ahead of schedule.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has saved an estimated £5.8m in energy costs since 2008, with £1m saved in 2016/17 alone.

Plans to upgrade new street lights will form the future of the council's green initiative, with 13,000 new LED lamps set to be installed by March.

Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader and lead member for Environment, said: “To be just five per cent shy of achieving the target three years early is an outstanding achievement by everyone at Reading Borough Council.

"The 50 per cent target set back in 2008 was a challenging one, but in that time the council has shown its continued commitment to investing in low carbon projects.

“The council is not resting on its laurels and we now intend to build on this success.

"By March next year the council will have completed its street light upgrade programme though the introduction of 13,000 new LED lamps, cutting energy use by more than 50 per cent.

"We will continue to invest in energy efficient technology through our successful SALIX programme and an awareness raising programme is being developed for all staff.”

The council has installed 5,000 solar panels on 457 houses, providing free electricity for tenants, and made major changes at the Civic Offices.

RBC's headquarters used 66 per cent less energy than the old Civic Centre in 2016/17.

A Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee meeting on November 22 will hear how the council has reached a 45 per cent reduction since 2008.