The Labour administration in Reading has been blasted for a supposed lack of action in tackling climate change.

It has been four years after declaring a climate emergency in 2019, which bound it to the goal of becoming a carbon emissions net zero council and town by 2030.

Since then, council officers have produced annual reports tracking the council and borough’s progress in reaching those goals.

The latest report was presented by Peter Moore, the council’s head of climate strategy, at a recent meeting.

Mr Moore stated that the council has won an A list rating from the Carbon Disclosure Project, reflecting its accurate monitoring of emissions and steps taken to reduce emissions.

He also reported that the council had cut its fossil fuels by electrifying its waste collection fleet.

But the council’s record came under staunch criticism by councillor David McElroy from the main opposition party.

Cllr McElroy (Green, Redlands)  said: “The science of climate change is very clear as to what needs to be done. There is nothing political about seeing that through.

“If an A rating equals thousands of damp, mouldy homes, congested stinking roads and cycle lanes to nowhere then I’d hate to see what an F looks like.

“I can’t believe it has been another year since I was saying I can’t believe it’s been another year.

“The council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and, according to these numbers, as of 2021 we had made negligible progress.

“So two years going nowhere, with us going backwards in the most recent year.”

Cllr McElroy cited statistics that carbon emissions were cut by 51 per cent since 2005.

However, carbon emissions were cut by 55 per cent in 2020/21, the last year when emissions statistics were available.

Cllr McElroy said:  “Quoting the report: ‘The pace of emissions reduction will need to increase significantly to get back on track to achieve ‘net zero by 2030’.

That’s pretty much an identical statement to last year’s report. Are we going to hear that again next year?”

Defending the council’s record Mr Moore said that the council had reduced its own carbon footprint by 74 per cent.

Cllr McElroy also accused the administration of ‘missing an open goal’ during the pandemic to make changes to the transport system and criticised its transport strategy, arguing that there is ‘no actual plan’ other than hoping that residents will take up walking and cycling.

He said: “Please don’t let another year be wasted, you have built up a huge majority over his 50 years, please use that for something, for this.”

Mr Moore replied that the allegation that carbon emission reductions had flatlined was ‘unfair’.

He said: “You’ve got to look at the long-term picture, and the progress that has been made has been good.”

Meanwhile, John Ennis (Labour, Southcote), lead councillor for climate strategy, argued significant progress was being made by installing air-source heat pumps in council-owned leisure centres and homes.

Addressing cllr McElroy and opposition councillors, cllr Ennis said: “Locally we will do what we can to ensure that we make progress towards net zero.

“That is a commitment we will make, but we will come back to how we’re going to get there, but don’t you worry, you will be involved.”

The report was noted unanimously at the council’s strategic environment, planning and transport committee on Wednesday, November 15.