04:30PM, Sunday 16 August 2020
An amended climate emergency action plan has been voted through by Wokingham Borough Council (WBC).
The document, which was first brought to council six months ago by Cllr Gregor Murray (Con, Norreys), includes ‘eight key focus areas and initial steps’ towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, July 23, Cllr Murray, said: “Today I present 37 core targets, 123 key actions and 385 milestones along with a financial plan and carbon budget that will take our borough from emitting 580,000 net carbon tonnes each year to emitting just 72,000 net carbon tonnes per year.”
Some of the key actions laid out in the document include plans to nearly double the network of greenways, double public transport use across the borough, improve air quality, and build electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Cllr Murray added: “In 10 year’s time when we live in a carbon neutral borough, we will look back on how we voted and be glad that we did.”
The motion was seconded by Cllr Laura Blumenthal (Con, South Lake) who said ‘we can be truly proud of where we are right now’.
Discussing the plan, Cllr Sarah Kerr (Lib Dem, Evendons) proposed an amendment that the council approve the climate emergency plan, ‘endorsing the targets where possible for carbon dioxide reduction and related actions proposed’, so WBC can play ‘as full a role as possible in achieving’ carbon neutrality by 2030.
But she asked for it to be noted that ‘much more work needs to be done before it can hope to achieve that aim’.
She said: “I welcome the progress made so far.
“It’s a vast improvement on what was presented to us at the beginning of the year.
“The intention of the amendment is not to lessen that recognition but to acknowledge that there is still much work to do.
“My biggest concern though, is that changing people’s behaviour, which is paramount to the success of this, is not sufficiently addressed. We run the risk of underestimating the enormity of the task and not bringing people with us.” The amended motion was passed by a majority vote.
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