The council has agreed to put forward a motion to declare a climate emergency in Reading after campaigners called for action.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) will outline its desire to eliminate Reading’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 at the Full Council meeting on February 26.

The motion, which will be moved by councillor Tony Page, deputy leader of RBC, adds that the 2030 timescale is only achievable with substantial policy changes from the government.

Councillor Page said: “Notwithstanding a proud record of local policies and delivery over many years to address climate change this Labour administration is the first to recognise that more needs to be done by Reading Council.

“It is no exaggeration to describe the world as in the midst of a climate emergency and more urgent action is therefore needed at local, national and international level to protect our planet for future generations.

“Our resolution sets out a wide range of measures that need to be embraced and pursued by governments at all levels.”

Campaign group Extinction Rebellion Reading set up a petition at the end of January, with support from the Reading Green Party, calling on the council to commit resources to tackling climate change.

The motion instructs officers to report to the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport and Policy committees on further potential measures that could accelerate the timescale for eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from 2050 to 2030.

The council are also calling on the government to follow the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change and radically improve its policy framework, with 13 changes suggested.

Carbon dioxide emissions in the borough have fallen by 41% since 2005, the 20th highest reduction in the UK, while the council has reduced its own emissions by 53% since 2008.

However, air pollution in the town is currently linked to the deaths of at least 62 people and the loss of more than 700 associated life years every year.

More than 20 councils have already declared a climate emergency, including Brighton, Oxford and Bristol.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in October 2018 that there are just 12 years left to get climate change under control.

Naomi Emmerson, a campaigner for Extinction Rebellion Reading, said: “Declaring a climate emergency would show residents and businesses in Reading that the council accepts the latest IPCC report and views climate change as a significant and urgent threat.

“It would also send a strong message to Westminster that Reading needs resources now for the necessary planning and actions, before it’s too late.

“XR Reading appreciates that RBC have taken many positive and leading steps in recent decades to address environmental issues.

“The severity of the climate crisis requires all councils and authorities in the UK and worldwide to drastically step up tough decisions and actions in order to make the carbon cuts needed."