EXPERTS on the environment have given their views on West Berkshire’s track record on taking climate action: some good parts and other parts 'lacked ambition'.

LED lighting and solar panels were mentioned as where the council has done good work, while elsewhere several said more trees could be planted in the district. 

They were speaking on a panel at the climate conference on October 28 at Newbury College, which was organised by West Berkshire Council. 

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Adrian Foster-Fletcher, of Friends of the Earth, said the council has done OK during the last 15 years. He said they had done well with LED lighting, electric vehicles, and the plans to put solar panels on council-owned properties. He said: “For that they’ve done well.”

But elsewhere he said the council has ‘lacked ambition, and hasn’t moved enough’. The council could also be looking at reforesting land and doubling tree cover across West Berkshire. 

Referencing the council’s recent decision to support Heathrow’s expansion, Mr Foster-Fletcher said: “And don’t vote for a third runway at Heathrow.” 

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Richard Knox-Johnston, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said he wanted to congratulate West Berkshire Council and the ‘youngsters’ who have been campaigning for more climate action. 

He said: “Our concern is on priorities for land. There’s a limited amount and we can’t make any more. My concern is that we are building far too many greenfield developments, and not looking nearly enough at brownfield land.”

Mr Knox-Johnston said we need for land for flooding, ‘which is going to happen more’, and planting trees and carbon sequestration. He said the council could have its own land strategy. 

Suzie Ferguson, from the West Berkshire Climate Action Network (WBCAN), said: “No government is currently doing enough. Every government can do more.” 

Ms Ferguson said she has worked for 15 years in the oil and gas industry, looking at things like carbon capture. 

WBCAN was founded in January this year, and is one of many place-based climate action networks. Ms Ferguson said their role was to ‘translate climate policy into action, on the ground in our communities’. 

Also on the panel were Mike Morecroft from Natural England, and Dr Prue Addison from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.