This week’s In My View comes from Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock. He writes:

Reading becomes the centre of the music universe again this weekend as the Festival comes to town. You’ve probably already noticed the prevalence of wellington boots around.

Whatever you think of the event (and I know a quite few local residents make a point of leaving town for the weekend!) what isn’t in doubt are the huge benefits the Festival brings to Reading, especially in terms of putting us on the map AND providing a much needed stimulus for local businesses.

This year’s Festival is the biggest ever with 105,000 tickets sold. And while I’m sure everyone going will have a great time, there’s a serious theme behind this year’s event in terms of doing everything we can to reduce the impact on the environment.

Reading Borough Council declared a climate change crisis earlier this year, committing to a carbon neutral Reading by 2030. We have also committed to do everything we can to become free of single-use plastics in the years to come. We know they are both ambitious targets, but we make no apology for that. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Reading have fallen by 41%, which is greater than all but 19 of the 405 local authorities in Great Britain. As a Council, we have reduced our own emissions by 53% since 2008, reaching our own target three years early.

In terms of people going to this year’s Reading Festival, the big message is to take your tent home. It’s very easy to pick up a pop-up tent for next to nothing these days. That also makes it very easy to discard it when the weekend is over, but doing so instantly converts your tent into a single-use plastic. The majority of abandoned tents end up in landfill because it is just impossible to recycle or reuse them all. If you are going to this year’s Festival, please take some time to pack up your tent and take it with you when you head home – and tell your friends why it’s so important to do the same.

The Council is working with Festival Republic, organisers of Reading Festival, to help spread the word about a host of environmental initiatives at this year’s event. They include a big push to get people car sharing if they are intending on driving to the campsites; a ‘bring your own bottle’ campaign to get people to refill water bottles at the taps being provided across the site; and a 10p refundable deposit for all bottles and cups, redeemable at refund points in the arena. You can find out about all of these initiatives and more at

And finally, just a quick word of genuine thanks to all the Council staff who will be working before, through and after the event and who play such an important role. A huge amount of this work is unseen and behind the scenes, so it is an easy thing to take for granted. Whether it’s licensing, noise monitoring, food safety, transport and traffic management, or enforcement action against ticket touts and illegal cabs, Council staff play a key role in making the Reading Festival such a success. The Council and Festival Republic have many years’ experience of working closely together to keep people safe while they are enjoying their weekend. There’s one thing we ask in return – take your tent home.