PLANS that dictate how we drive, cycle, walk and get the bus in Reading for the next 16 years have been slammed.

Reading Borough Council is preparing to move forward with its transport strategy 2040, which has a range of proposals including more bus and cycle lanes, possible congestion charging and hopes for a third Thames bridge.

The strategy has been undertaken by officers under the guidance of the council’s Labour administration.

But the strategy has been blasted by councillor Dave McElroy, who has accused the council of ‘cynical greenwashing’.

Cllr McElroy (Green, Redlands) said: “Reading has a whole host of transport problems.

“Our roads are choked, the cycle network is patchier than a mangy dog and our kids breathe foul air.

“While this strategy talks a good game for tackling these issues, there is no real detail beyond a plan to keep the private car supreme.

“No wonder only 14 per cent of respondents to the council’s air quality action plan thought it would work.”

Cllr McElroy referred to responses to a similar consultation on the council’s plan to improve air quality for the next five years.

READ MORE: Clash over clean air zone in Reading to tackle poor air quality

Referring back to the transport strategy for 2040, he said: “This ‘strategy’ really is just another case of Labour promising change while delivering more of the same.

“Vision is all fine and good, but it needs to be supported by action.

“Greens will keep campaigning for a truly sustainable transport system, which would provide a breath of fresh air after 40 odd years of failure from Reading Labour.”

From 1984-2024, the council has been under Labour control for 33 years, with the latest stint being from 2012 to now.

Cllr McElroy also scrutinised the council’s ‘summary of responses’ from its consultation into its transport strategy, which features a ‘word cloud’ of  ‘Suggestions for Additional Areas to Consider’ rather than specific criticisms written by residents.

He said: “Finally, I’m really disappointed with this report, not just because it is cynical greenwashing but also because the report is extremely effective at hiding and stifling criticism.

“The only analyses of the hundreds of suggestions and criticisms that we are given is in word clouds, a tool so unhelpful they would earn the lead councillor a fail mark if he submitted them as part of his A-levels.”

Here, cllr McElroy took aim at John Ennis (Labour, Southcote) lead councillor for climate strategy and transport.

Cllr McElroy continued: “It is frustrating because I’m left with no idea from the report what the criticisms were.

“This makes my job as an opposition councillor very difficult, which I guess is the point.

“But worse than that, it is extremely disrespectful to those who took the time to participate in the consultation.

“Hubris from Reading Labour is no substitute for real change. The solution cannot be more of the same.”

Changes to the strategy in recognition of the consultation are set to be discussed by the council’s strategic environment, planning and transport committee on Thursday, June 27.

Cllr McElroy is a member of the committee.

Once changes to the strategy are approved, it must then go to a full meeting of the council in October for final approval.

In the last 40 years, the council has rarely been outside of Labour’s control:

1983-1986: Conservative

1986-1987: No overall control (NOC)

1987-1998: Labour (changed to unitary authority the following year)

1998-2008: Labour

2008-2012: NOC

2012-present: Labour