TOM Heap, who presents Countryfile on BBC 2, has given his views on how West Berkshire can become carbon neutral. 

Stronger regulations on new homes, cycle lanes, and electric vehicles were some of the ways he mentioned that would reduce carbon emissions. 

Mr Heap was speaking at the West Berkshire climate conference, on October 28 at Newbury College. West Berkshire Council organised the event to get the public involved in shaping its new environment strategy. 

In his keynote speech to the conference, Mr Heap said that the climate crisis will affect West Berkshire, for example with extreme weather like flooding. 

In July, the council declared a climate emergency and pledged to work towards getting the district to carbon neutral by 2030. 

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Mr Heap said: “2030 ain’t long; very close indeed. The declaration was the easy part. It will be really tough. Our civilisation has been built on fire, and fire is what we have to snuff out. 

“Just about every single thing that we do in our lives are based on energy. That from wood to coal to oil, gas. Production of carbon dioxide is so rooted in everything we do in our lives.”

Mr Heap warned of the council appearing hypocritical, when asking residents and businesses to reduce emissions, if it doesn’t get its own house in order first. 

He said: “People are suspicious of those asking them to do stuff, not doing it themselves. That’s when you’re in trouble.

“What can we do in our own properties first? Turning own fleet to electric must be considered. Have you done your own carbon footprint analysis?”

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On housing, he said: “What are you insisting on with regulations when things are being built? What can you push harder on? The pressure from house builders will come again when we try to raise standards. That’s a national battle but a local one as well.”

On transport, he said drivers of electric cars could be given free parking, and new housing estates must have cycle lanes. 

On a national level, he mentioned some successes, like the UK emitting less greenhouse gases and burning much less coal, ‘which is a very good thing’. 

He also said there had been some failures: people are flying more, fast fashion, food waste, poor improvements in home energy efficiency.