THE Council has cut its carbon footprint by a huge 62.5% in the last decade, as it moves towards creating a net zero carbon Reading.
Latest figures show Reading Borough Council reduced its own carbon emissions by 18.5% in 2018/19. Added to previous year’s reductions, it means the Council has avoided costs of nearly £11 million in energy bills since 2008 and £1.5 million last year.
In terms of per capita (i.e. per person) emissions for Reading as a whole, between 2005 and 2017 the town has cut its carbon footprint by 50% – or 3.3 tonnes per person. That is the greatest reduction of any Local Authority area in the whole of the South East of England over the period. It puts Reading Borough Council 9th out of 400 authorities in the UK and already 10% below its 2020 target for carbon emission levels.
The Reading Climate Change Partnership – made up of representatives from across the business, community and the public sectors – is now preparing its third climate change strategy for the period 2020 to 2025. This will be launched in April 2020 and will include an Action Plan to build on improvements made to date. A new post of Head of Climate Strategy has been established at the Council to help drive the change to net zero carbon by 2030.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport said:
“The Council continues to lead by example with another significant cut in its carbon footprint last year, bringing the total reduction to a staggering 63% in just 10 years. Outside of the Council, Reading as a whole now sits in 9th best position out of 400 local authority areas in the UK, and the best in the South East, for cutting carbon emissions.
“With the declaration of a climate emergency in Reading, and the creation of a new Reading Climate Change Partnership strategy, the council, businesses and communities now intend to build on these impressive figures to achieve a net zero carbon Reading by 2030. That is a huge challenge which will require buy in from every single business, organisation and individual in Reading.”
A report to the Council Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on Wednesday November 20th (https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/documents/s9276/11%20Climate%20Change%20Action%20Report_SEPT%20NOV19.pdf) outlines the figures in detail, how carbon reductions have been achieved by the Council and how they will be sustained in future years.
- A 54% cut in street lighting energy consumption by installing LED street lighting across Reading.
- Over 100 individual carbon reduction projects delivered through the SALIX funding programme.
- School programmes including upgrades to LED lighting and electrical and insulation improvements
- Reading Town Hall refurbishment, including roof insulation, LED lighting and upgraded heating system, and the refurbishment of Bennet Road Depot, to include renewable energy technologies
- The installation of around 4,000 more solar panels by the Reading Community Energy Society on school and community buildings, including a large array on Reading Bus Depot
- Council owned Reading Buses adding to its CNG powered double deck bus fleet
- The expansion of the Council’s electric vehicle fleet and the installation of new charging points in residential streets
- Energy efficient upgrades to Council housing including double glazing, insulated doors, upgraded insulation, solar panels, new showers, and ensuring all new build properties are energy efficient
Notes To Editor:
In October 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) published a special report ahead of the 24th international summit on climate change, stating that the world needed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (Carbon emissions) to zero if it is to limit heating to 1.5°C. Furthermore cities needed to decarbonise in the next two decades. For western cities, this must be sooner.
Reading Borough Council declared its climate emergency in February this year and has committed to work towards a carbon neutral Reading by 2030.