CONCERNS were raised by councillors over whether West Berkshire has enough resources to transition to zero-carbon by 2030.

The budget for West Berkshire Council’s carbon management plan was underspent by £89,000 in the last financial year.

Because of planning to install solar panels, ‘no other project could be delivered’ last year, according to a report by Andy Walker, the council’s head of finance, on the capital programme financial performance.

Councillor Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) questioned this at a meeting of the council’s executive on June 13.

He said: “On July 2 at full council, obviously we are going to be debating climate change and how we go carbon free by 2030.”

“If we only have the resources to do one project, and that’s just to work it up, not to deliver the thing, we need to be aware of the resources that we need to put behind a 2030 project as well.

“The capital programme clearly highlights that we don’t have the resources to be able to deliver all of those carbon-based projects.”

Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham Colthrop & Crookham), the lead member for the environment, said: “I totally share your concerns.

“The historical reason behind this is that the team which had been tasked on projects such as this have, due to the last few years of financial contingency, been forced to spend half their time on other projects.

“I’m confident that’s going to change. The encouraging news is that, as well as planning these projects ahead, there is now a significant pipeline and work to be done and I look forward, as no doubt we all do, to accelerating the amount of projects such as this.”

The council announced in March plans to spend £750,000 on installing solar panels on council buildings. Generating some of its own energy could save the council £30,000 a year.