In this week's column, Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, reflects on the fifth anniversary of the council declaring a climate emergency, writing on what has already been done and the quest to getting to 'net zero' by 2030. Councillor Brock writes:

Five years ago this week, the Council joined other local authorities around the country in declaring a climate emergency.

Since then, the climate crisis and its consequences have rarely been out of the news.

We have already started to see the direct effects of climate change around the globe and here at home. I am sure you have noticed that our winters are getting wetter and warmer, and experts expect that trend to continue.

The Council has always been willing to lead the way in Reading when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. We were one of the first councils to produce a detailed Climate Action Plan, signed up to the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change in 2006 and we have made sure that environmental impact is considered in every decision we make at council meetings.

Reading Chronicle: Cllr Jason Brock, leader of RBC

We have seen a 51 per cent reduction in the borough’s carbon emissions since 2005 – the eight largest reduction across 374 local authority areas in the UK. We have also seen a 74 per cent reduction in the Council’s own carbon emissions in the last 14 years.

However, we have not been able to achieve these on our own and it will not be possible to reach our ambitious target of making Reading carbon net-zero by 2030 without the support of everyone in our town. The next five years will not only be critical for us as a borough but for the whole world in our efforts to tackle climate change.

It can all seem a bit daunting and leave you thinking the problem is too big for you to do anything about. But the good thing is, you can make a difference and it does not mean you have to spend any more money or make radical changes to your lifestyle.

Reading Climate Action Network (RCAN), which the Council is part of, has a great website full of tips on how individuals, organisations and schools can make Reading a better place and help the town reach net zero.

The site includes information and tips for individuals on how to make a positive change in the areas of eating and drinking, travelling, using energy and waste and recycling. Changing our eating habits can have a significant impact on our carbon footprint and the site contains information on how we can reduce food waste and save money. Of course, not all the suggestions will suit everyone, but I would say it is well worth taking a look and considering what you could do:

RCAN will be running Reading’s fifth annual Climate Festival between 8 – 21 June and is inviting organisations and individuals to stage events around the borough. You can find more at We are also keen to engage more businesses in the drive to reach our 2030 net zero target.

The Council is working hard tackle the climate emergency in many ways, such as providing good recycling and food waste services, encouraging the use of our excellent bus service, improving cycling and walking facilities, making our buildings and vehicle fleet more eco-friendly, and much more.

But we cannot do it alone and on this fifth anniversary of the Council declaring a climate crisis, I’d encourage you to explore what actions you could take to help Reading become net zero by 2030.