THE climate emergency action plan to get West Berkshire to carbon neutral by 2030 has been revealed in draft stage.

The plan looks at how the district can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in the district to net zero in 10 years.

In July last year, West Berkshire Council declared a climate emergency and set the 2030 target. The environment strategy sets out how to meet that target.

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It includes plans to “significantly increase” tree planting, solar and wind energy generation, and energy efficiency schemes.

Those living and working in West Berkshire can give their views on the strategy — as the draft was published on January 9. The public has six weeks, until February 21, to fill out a form on the council’s website. 

Click here to fill out the survey. 

Those views will then be taken on board, before being approved on April 30 at a meeting of the executive. That gives the green light for projects which will need significant investment.

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Councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter, lead for environment, said: “The environment strategy is a significant focus for us and while we want to lead on this important issue, we know the council cannot deliver this strategy alone: everyone across West Berkshire has a role to play.

“The changes we can make will vary in size but all are important as we work towards our shared aspiration.”

Specific actions and details are not included in the draft strategy, as these will be set out in a delivery plan — an internal document which will not be shared with the public.

However, the draft does include several other potential projects, like a carbon audit, carbon budgeting, changing how homes and businesses are heated, expanding cycle lanes, improving public transport, reducing waste, and awareness campaigns.

Cllr Ardagh-Walter said: “The publication of this strategy, we hope, will act as a catalyst to residents, businesses and interested groups that we all need to adjust our own priorities and behaviours if we are to rise to the challenge that climate change presents to us all.  

“Please therefore read the strategy, respond to the consultation and, crucially, think about what action you can take to make its aims a reality.”

According to the draft, West Berkshire emitted 1,294.5 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide in 2017, or 8.2 tonnes per person. 

The plan is to reduce total emissions to less than 350 kilotonnes by 2030 — about six tonnes of CO2 per person, or 40 kilotonnes in total each year.

This will be offset by local energy generation, carbon sequestration and other offsetting schemes, equivalent to 350 kilotonnes. 

Other projects include: holding similar events to the climate conference last October, setting up a focus group of residents, encouraging residents and business to produce their own energy, and replacing council vehicles with ultra low emission vehicles. 

The strategy will be overseen by the environment board, which comprises Cllr Ardagh-Walter, Cllr Richard Somner, lead for transport, and Cllr Ross Mackinnon, lead for finance — as well as various council officers from across different departments.