Reading to go zero emissions by 2030 amidst ‘climate emergency’

Reading Borough Council is set to be the next local authority to declare a ‘climate emergency’ after it agreed to put forward a motion to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from its roads by 2030.

The council will announce its intentions for Reading to become a zero-carbon town in the next 11 years at its next full council meeting on Tuesday February 26.

If the motion is passed, Reading would join over 20 local authorities in declaring a climate emergency including Oxford, Brighton and Bristol.

However, in the motion set to be put forward by deputy council leader Cllr Tony Page, the council has stressed that it will only achieve its carbon reduction aims if the government takes the initiative.

The motion reads: ‘Reading Borough Council (RBC) believes the world is now clearly in the midst of a climate emergency and that more concerted and urgent action is needed at local, national and international level to protect our planet for future generations.

‘This Council therefore instructs officers to report to the SEPT and Policy Committees on further potential measures that could accelerate the timescale for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2030, but recognises that this date can only be achieved with substantial policy changes from national government.’

Reading, Berkshire (Picture: Shutterstock)

The council’s motion will urge officers to report to the council’s Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport and Policy committees on potential measures to bring forward Reading’s target for eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from 2050 to 2030.

The council has also called on the government to improve its policies on climate change by following recommendations made by the Committee for Climate Change, with 13 changes to policy suggested.

Reading has already had substantial success in recent years in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, with emissions in the borough falling by 41% since 2005.

Initiatives it has taken include improving its bus fleet – bus use is growing in the town and the council recently secured over £1.5m to upgrade 96 of its buses to a lower emission standard.

However, air pollution remains an issue in the town as it is linked to the deaths of at least 62 people in Reading each year.