Wokingham Borough Council has approved the annual report for its climate emergency action plan which sets out ambitious targets and detailed actions for Wokingham Borough to become carbon neutral by 2030.
“We are thrilled that our Climate Emergency Action Plan, which is full of ideas from residents, town and parish councils, council officers and local businesses, has been approved this week,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for climate emergency.
“There are some really exciting projects in the action plan. We are going to build two solar farms in the next two years which will not only provide us with renewable energy, but will also generate money which we will re-invest in our carbon neutral projects.
“We are creating a green bank to help residents make their homes more energy efficient, and exploring how we as a borough can move away from carbon fuel heating. We have an electric vehicle trial which we will be rolling out soon; we’re planting 250,000 new trees across the borough; and the replacement Dinton Activity Centre we are building right now will be our first entirely carbon neutral building”.
“These aren’t just plans – these are real projects which our residents are going to start seeing very soon. Our plan is ambitious, but I think we are up to the challenge. We are off to a good start on our goal of having a carbon-neutral Wokingham borough by 2030.”
The council declared a climate emergency last year and committed to play as full a role as possible in achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, 20 years sooner than the government’s target of 2050.
The council has calculated the borough’s carbon footprint to be 580.9 ktCO2e, which is made up of 31% transport emissions, 26% industrial and commercial emissions, and 44% residential emissions.
The action plan sets out targets for reducing carbon emissions in the borough along with actions to achieve them, including timelines, milestones and costs where available. The council has outlined eight key action areas and committed £50million over the next three years to assist in the reduction of the borough’s carbon footprint:
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions from transport by reducing congestion, encouraging more electric vehicles and encouraging more sustainable transport options.
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions from domestic and business property by creating a ‘green bank’ to help residents and businesses convert from natural gas to other low carbon forms of energy.
- Generate more renewable energy in the borough by creating five largescale solar farms in the next five years.
- Create a Local Plan that specifies net zero carbon construction and infrastructure to ensure major new developments are energy efficient and use low carbon energy.
- Increase the levels of carbon sequestration in the borough through greening the environment by planting 250,000 new trees over the next five years.
- Engage with young people and support sustainable schools to promote behavioural change.
- Reduce waste sent to landfill by reaching a 60% recycling rate this year and a 90% recycling rate by 2030.
- Encourage behaviour change by having the council set an example and become net zero carbon on its own estate as well as in its policies, services and investments.
The plan has been reviewed independently by the council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Board, which is formed with representatives from organisations including businesses, charities and academia including University of Reading, National Grid, Greater South East Energy Hub, Chairman of WBC Business Group, Sustrans, Scottish Southern Electric, Volker Highways, Reading Buses, South Western Railway, Great Western Railway, amongst others.
For further information visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and search Climate Emergency Action Plan July 2020.