Wokingham Borough Council’s executive committee will be discussing the recommendations made by its climate emergency task and finish group at its meeting this Thursday 30 September.
The council’s overview and scrutiny management committee established a task and finish group to review its Climate Emergency Action Plan and make recommendations to improve the plan.
The task and finish group recognised that the Council’s action plan is bold and ambitious and compares favourably with other local authorities that the council is doing well when compared with other local authorities, including some of the UK’s largest cities, with the council’s approach of developing a dedicated in-house team supported by working groups having a positive impact.
The task and finish group have identified 25 recommendations for improvements. Officers supported most of the recommendations, although there were a few that were not supported due to policy and/or procedural issues. ,
The recommendations fall under five broad categories; transport, homes, renewable energy, behaviour change, and other priorities. These are aligned to the action plan and support the actions already identified within the plan.
For transport, recommendations include reviewing planned road infrastructure, addressing issues around affordability and access to bus routes, assessing the viability of alternative transport options such as e-scooters and autonomous guided pods, and updating plans to reflect the government’s announcement that petrol and diesel cars will not be sold after 2030.
For homes, a plan to help residents retrofit their houses, with support from grants, and lobbying central government is recommended. A recommendations to produced a supplementary planning document that mandates all houses are built as close to net-zero as possible cannot be adopted at this stage, because the Local Plan is Currently been reviewed and this is the Core Stretagy for new development. However, net-zero carbon in new builds and developments is strongly encouraged.
Recommendations for renewable energy include a campaign to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses, as well as working with partners and residents to retrofit buildings.
The group recommends the council support behaviour change within the borough by working with the community on its understanding of new technologies to increase awareness. Other priorities include training and reviewing of plans.
Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for resident services, communications and emissions, said: “The council’s plans to tackle the climate crisis are ambitious, wide-ranging, and necessary. The world is facing a crisis that unless we act now, will be irreversible and have devastating consequences.
“Our climate emergency action plan sets out the steps that we are taking to play our part in the global fight against climate change. The addition of a task and finish group to scrutinise the plan is essential in ensuring that we are getting a wider view on the issues and are being continually challenged to improve. I welcome the recommendations made by the group and, if approved, will be supporting their implementation.
“The council can’t do this alone, we need everyone living and working in the borough to do their bit to reduce carbon emissions.”
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