A £50 million plan to tackle the climate emergency has been approved by Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) but opposition councillors slammed the strategy as “extremely disappointing”.

The plan aims to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2030 but, in its current form, the council has predicted the proposals will not achieve this.

The strategy includes:

  • Doubling public transport use
  • Investing heavily into renewable energy
  • Retrofitting schools
  • Planting 250,000 trees
  • A green bank

READ MORE: Wokingham leader threatens to leave waste partnership in recycling row

WBC has calculated the plan will reduce its net carbon emissions from 580,000 tonnes a year down to 72,000 tonnes per year.

Councillor Gregor Murray, executive member for the Climate Emergency, said the plan demonstrates Wokingham is one of the leaders of environmental change in the UK.

While fellow Tory councillor Laura Blumenthal said the plan is “better than good” and the town “can be truly proud”.

But opposition councillors have slammed the plans.

Cllr Carl Doran said: “This plan fails to even aspire to deliver on its mission statement. It falls far short of its targets. It is extremely disappointing."

He said the plan had been devised through a “secretive and controlled process led by politics rather than evidence”.

The plan states that without action the estimated carbon emissions by 2030 would be reduced to approximately 291 carbon tonnes.

But Cllr Doran questioned how the carbon footprint could be cut in half “from government intervention alone”, calling the claims “extremely dubious”.

He called the plan “an attempt to mislead residents”, while fellow Labour councillor Rachel Burgess said the numbers do not add up and the green bank plans are “not realistic”.

READ MORE: Bar, shop and takeaway given lifeline despite concerns over violent incidents

She said the council is “desperately inflating figures arbitrarily” and the plan “does not fulfill its brief”.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Fishwick said document is “the most important of the decade” but is not detailed or robust and has many gaps.

Other opposition councillors were more positive, such as Lib Dem councillor Sarah Kerr, who said the plans are a “vast improvement” on previous proposals.

But she said there are gaps, “instances of double counting” and the measures would fall short of the carbon neutral target.

Councillor Clive Jones, a fellow Lib Dem, praised the “really good ideas” but criticised the lack of details and costing.

Speaking on the major plan was limited to 30 minutes at a full council meeting that went on until 11pm, enraging Labour councillor Andy Croy, who said there should no time limit on such an important issue and was unable to speak.

He did, however, get an opportunity to speak later – once the plan had been approved – slamming the proposals in a question to Cllr Murray.

Cllr Croy said: “The Climate Emergency Action plan is not fit for purpose.  The plan will not cause the borough to be carbon neutral by 2030.  It has taken a whole year for this to be acknowledged.

”What changes to the plan will be made to ensure the borough reaches carbon neutrality by 2030?”

Cllr Murray said the plan is a “working document” and “will change significantly over time”.