Efforts being made to make Wokingham borough carbon neutral are ‘hot air’, according to one councillor.

The council declared a climate emergency in July and since then Conservative councillor Gregor Murray has been developing an action plan to ensure the authority reaches its target.

He was quizzed for the first time about his preparations on Wednesday (September 18) but faced challenges from a number of councillors.

A heated discussion even led to one councillor leaving the committee early after a disagreement with the committee chair.

Despite this, Cllr Murray told members about a number of initiatives which have already been generated to kickstart the work, with an officer-only ‘Green Team’ being set up and a cross-party group created to steer WBC towards its goal.

Cllr Murray said the action plan, which is due to be presented in January 2020, would be split into 21 different sections, with focuses on energy use, transport, communications and more.

Ideas already touted included creating solar farms, reducing single-use plastic usage and developing smart motorways – but Labour councillor Andy Croy said these ideas were “not going to cut it”.

NOW READ: Top 5 coffee shops in your area

He later added: “The council has set itself an ambitious 10-year plan and we need radical changes in the way we live in the borough in order to have a chance.

“All I am seeing is a lot of activity that will generate a lot of press releases about how great the Tories are doing in their efforts to save the planet. And it’s all hot air, literally.”

Cllr Murray responded: “There are a high number of actions in there but it is a draft document. There will be some big things in there, but there will be some little things in there as well.

“Every single department within Wokingham Borough Council is creating an action plan that they are going to contribute to bring down our carbon footprint.”

READ ALSO: Families step back in time to medieval ages in Wokingham

Liberal Democrats member Ian Pittock also called for greater clarity on the authority’s big plans in order to encourage residents to participate in WBC’s climate emergency consultation.

Cllr Sarah Kerr, also of the Lib Dems, later added: "We were alarmed when we received the meeting paper at how weak and lacking in substance and detail it was.

"Cllr Murray in his presentation answered many of our questions though.

"It was a shame that this level of detail wasn't in the report to begin with although more detail is still required.

"There is still a long way to go and we are yet to see if the council is genuinely on the right path."