In this week's column, Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, highlights three pieces of good news in the council's quest to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Councillor Brock writes:

If you’ve been watching Planet Earth III on telly of a Sunday evening, you will no doubt have been amazed by the wonders of wildlife. But you may also have reflected on the impact we as humans have on the natural world, with our actions forcing animals across the globe quickly adapt to a warmer climate and the destruction of habitats.

Closer to home, we’ve seen the impact of climate change on towns and cities in the UK with devastating floods happening more regularly and record high temperatures affecting people’s health.

You might sometimes feel that the problem is too great and too daunting for us as individuals to do anything about. What we need to remember is that we can make a big difference if we all act together.

We have had three pieces of good news this month about how Reading as a town, and as a local council, is reducing carbon emissions.

The annual report from the Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP) revealed that Reading’s carbon emissions (and by this we mean our town as a whole, not just the Council) have been cut by 51% since 2005, which is the eighth largest reduction out of 374 local authority areas in the UK.

The Council itself has cut its own carbon emissions by 74% in 14 years and reduced its use of fossil fuels by 50% – two years ahead of our target.

We also learned the excellent news that Reading had retained its position on the CDP A List for the third successive year. This is widely recognised as a ‘gold standard’ marker of how well a town or city is addressing its environmental impact.

The Council and its partners have been working together to reduce carbon emissions and a range of projects have helped us move in the right direction. These include the opening of Green Park Station in south Reading, installing heat pumps and solar panels in our new Rivermead and Palmer Park leisure centres and upgrading schools with solar panels and improving lighting.

We’ve also seen a 68% reduction in emissions from waste since 2015/16, largely because of significant reductions in rubbish going to landfill.

This is where you and I as individuals come into the equation. The Council can provide recycling collections, introduce cheaper bus fares, and help build new train stations. But if nobody recycled at home, took the bus, or caught the train there would be no progress.

So, if you sort your recycling and take public transport, walk or cycle rather than drive whenever possible, you’ve already played a big part in Reading’s environmental achievements – so thank you.

If you would like to do more and need some ideas or inspiration, visit the Reading Climate Action Network website which has lots of information for individuals, businesses, organisations, and schools – visit

We’ve got a long way to go to reach our target of Reading becoming net zero carbon by 2030, and I would urge everyone to play their part in helping us achieve that goal and drive forward our town’s contribution towards tackling the climate crisis.