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'One opportunity' to solve climate crisis, says councillor

A strategy on how the council intends to tackle the climate emergency will be presented at a meeting this year.

The Royal Borough declared an environment and climate emergency in June – and committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In an effort to speed up the council’s work, lead member for climate change and sustainability Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) has established a series of climate workshops.

She has also formed a steering committee made up of councillors and officers to help set out the strategy.

Cllr Stimson then intends to submit a draft strategy to full council in June of this year.

At the second workshop in the Desborough Theatre at Maidenhead Town Hall on Thursday, climate groups, councillors and residents met to discuss the way forward.

Each individual table discussed a particular topic – such as sustainable places or environmentally-friendly transport – and fed back to the group.

When asked what the draft strategy involved, Cllr Stimson said it would be ‘looking at all of these areas’ to establish what the council needs to do to achieve its net zero goal.

“Every six months we will be measuring ourselves. We have got to really go for it,” she said after the meeting.

At the workshop, Plastic Free Windsor leader Paul Hinton suggested that Cllr Stimson had not received adequate support from the council in tackling the climate emergency.

In response, Cllr Stimson said: “We just have to dive into the unknown. I am going as fast as I can but this council is not equipped to do this alone and I do need everybody’s help.

“We will work together. We have one opportunity to do this. It has to happen and we really cannot wait.”

Also present at the meeting was council leader Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams). Addressing the group, he said the climate crisis is ‘square and centre’ of everything the council does. He cited electric vehicle charging points and the Royal Borough’s opposition to Heathrow expansion as examples of this.

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