Campaigners are calling on Reading Borough Council (RBC) to strengthen its climate emergency motion.

Extinction Rebellion Reading (XRR) campaigners met with councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment to discuss the motion last week (Friday, February 15).

The motion was announced by the Reading Labour group earlier this month following pressure from XRR  and currently outlines a desire, but does not pledge, to eliminate carbon emissions by 2030.

Naomi Emmerson, XRR’s co-ordinator said: “There was a good rapport, a good channel of engagement was opened; it was successful in strengthening focus on climate change.

“We will continue to work with the council to ensure the climate change message is central to all local policy and activity going forwards.’

XRR are calling on the council to make ‘a stronger statement about the council's mobilisation towards achieving zero net carbon by 2030’ and refer to emergency planning.

XRR's Jennifer Leach said: "I am certain that looking back at Reading’s history this resolution will be seen as a massively important watershed."

The campaigners 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 deputy leader of RBC previously stated that declaring a climate emergency motion was ‘not really necessary’ but was persuaded to do so after the petition was launched.

Cllr 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 RBC.

“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.”

Full council will debate and vote on whether to pass the motion on Tuesday, February 26.

XRR are seeking two changes to the motion:

  • A stronger statement about the Council's mobilisation towards achieving zero net carbon by 2030.

Either   ‘RBC pledges to do everything within its power to make Reading Borough carbon neutral by 2030.’ 

or    'The Council will call on the Government to give Reading as soon as possible the powers and funding needed to ensure that Reading is carbon neutral by 2030.' 

  • A reference to emergency planning.

E.g.  'The Council will set out an  emergency plan framework within this year's major revision of the Reading Climate Change Strategy,. This strategy will act as a carbon audit for the Local Plan and Local Transport Plan'.