Today is one year since Reading Borough Council (RBC) declared a climate emergency, committing to doing everything it can to prevent environmental devastation.

But what has been done to tackle the climate crisis and reach the target of a carbon neutral town by 2030?

Extinction Rebellion’s Red Rebel Brigade (see video below) were in attendance as the council last night backed a budget that includes around £17 million of investment in climate-tackling measures over the next three years.

Video of Red Rebel Brigade

— Tevye Markson (@TevyeMarksonLDR) February 25, 2020

Green and Lib Dem councillors put forward amendments to the budget aimed at tackling the climate crisis but both proposals were rejected.

Both parties have criticised the council for not doing enough.

Green councillor Rob White said the council needs to do “much more” to cut carbon emissions and proposed a plan to insulate homes.

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While Lib Dem councillor Meri O’Connell accused the council of being “complacent” about the climate emergency and not understanding what an emergency means after her party’s tree planting and electric charging point proposal was rejected.

How much has the council spent on tackling climate change this year?

The council says it will have spent £34 million tackling the climate crisis in its first two years since it declared a climate emergency on February 26, 2019.

READ MORE: Reading Borough Council approves budget for next three years

This includes funds to build Green Park Station, the South Reading MRT and introducing a food waste collection service, as well retrofitting buses and spending on renewable energy.

Councillor Tong Page, lead member for Environment, said the investment is “a very significant commitment of council resources” and the council “anticipates” making further investment to work towards the 2030 goal.

He said the council cannot do it alone, however, and needs additional powers and funding from the government.

In the first year since the declaration, the council spending on climate-tackling measures includes:

  • £10 million on Green Park Station
  • £3.5 million on South Reading Mass Rapid Transport
  • £500,000 on renewable energy
  • £600,000 on Salix energy saving measures
  • Around £400,000 on bus retrofitting
  • £50,000 on tree planting

The council is also proposing a £9 million investment in highway maintenance over three years, which it has not included in its £34 million figure.

What else has the council done?

The council has appointed a head of climate strategy and accelerated its development of a new Reading Climate Emergency Strategy for 2020-25.

Additionally, a Climate Action Programme Board in January 2020 to “embed the action required to achieve the ambition of a net zero carbon Reading by 2030 in the council’s strategic plans, services and operational practises”.