SCHOOL students were asking climate questions and pressuring councillors in their latest meeting.

Five students from the Bulmershe School, Woodley, quizzed councillors for the Wokingham Borough on how they were reducing the borough's carbon footprint, and how they intend to do more for the environment in future.

William Gale asked councillor Gregor Murray, Executive Member for Climate Emergency: "To what extent do you agree that this council’s current policy of support for the Heathrow Airport expansion is in direct contradiction of its declaration of climate emergency?"

Cllr Murray replied, stating that the council had only agreed to allow the expansion of the major international airport because of the conditions they agreed to adhere to.

The conditions agreed to by Heathrow included the need to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, demonstrating a pathway to carbon neutrality, for Heathrow to demonstrate that the number of overflights won't affect health or quality of life for residents, and finally for Heathrow to improve access and other improvements fr the Twyford station.

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The next young person to speak, Charlotte Ibbotson, asked of Cllr Murray: "Since Wokingham has the highest car ownership in the country, why hasn’t the current agenda mentioned congestion charges or road pricing?"

Cllr Murray answered, saying a congestion charge would have significant financial impact on residents and also have negative impacts on the road network surrounding the extents of any charge zone.

The Council is however, starting to look at ‘Smart City’ interventions that can improve traffic flows, reduce congestion and change behaviour to optimise the use of the existing road network.

In the longer term, changing travel behaviours and the emergence of mobility as a service, as well the use of electric cars will mean a congestion charge would not serve any purpose.

Oz Hafsa Khan asked: "how would you normally travel to meetings like these and what type of transport did you use to arrive here tonight?"

Cllr Murray Thanked Ms Khan for her "really great question."

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To answer, he said he walked to the Council meeting that night, but does drive on occasion and tries to use public transport if he can.

He also said councillors often work from home to save commuting, and are hoping to encourage other employers to do the same.

The penultimate question asked of Cllr Murray was from Millie Rowell: "how will you be able to make the greenery in our area more effective for reducing our carbon emissions in our community?"

Responding, Cllr Murray detailed plans to move to less intensive management of greenery in the borough, as well as minimising the losses of green space through development - the council also plans to compensate for management of greenery where unavoidable.

Ella Wölfel asked the final question to Cllr Murray: "What concrete measures is the Council going to implement to make the local schools carbon neutral?"

He said that the council has prioritised net reduction in energy and plans to install more energy-efficient technology, but it also wishes to develop an awareness campaign with schools in the area to promote climate-friendly behaviours with students, such as walking or cycling to school, recycling and how they can directly influence their own carbon footprint through fast fashion, single-use plastic and food.