THOUSANDS of trees should be planted each year in West Berkshire to combat the climate crisis, Green councillors have said. 

In response to the climate emergency declared on July 2, a group of West Berkshire councillors will meet on July 23 to propose how to make the district carbon neutral. 

The environment advisory group is made up of one Green councillor, three Liberal Democrats, and five Tories. It will advise the council on what action should be taken. 

Ahead of the group’s first meeting tonight, the Green group have laid out their proposals. 

They said all taxis licensed in West Berkshire should be electric, by first offering incentives to taxi firms for each electric vehicle, liaising with the trade, and providing charging points specifically for taxis. 

Suitable sites for planting trees should be found on land owned by West Berkshire Council, town councils, and private land, the Greens said. Elsewhere, Cornwall is planning to create a 20,000-acre forest costing up to £30 million.

They are proposing a clean air zone for the centre of Newbury and extending the traffic-free periods on certain streets. 

Near schools, they say drivers who leave engines running could be fined. More walking and cycling to and from school should also be encouraged. 

Improvements in public transport could be raised by a workplace parking levy, they also propose. In Nottingham, a similar scheme brings in £9 million each year. 

Councillor Steve Masters (Newbury Speen) said: “This initial selection of ideas offers the council the opportunity to start acting on the wishes of the public. 

“Never before have we seen such levels of interest and engagement from residents who want to tackle climate change. The very same members of the public will judge us by our actions, or indeed, our inaction.

“The environment advisory group needs to be innovative and energetic.”