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Council to hold climate conference

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Free public event at Newbury College in October

Steve Ardagh-Walter
Steve Ardagh-Walter

WEST Berkshire Council is hosting a landmark Climate Conference in October.

The event will bring together politicians, businesses and local groups for a series of lectures and information exchanges on ecology.

It is to be held at Newbury College on Monday, October 28, between 10am and 4pm.

The announcement follows the council’s declaration of a climate emergency last month.

Executive member for the environment Steve Ardagh-Walter, said he was “excited” by the conference.

He said: “Climate change is an important issue that affects us all and about which our community feels very passionately.

“For this reason, we feel that the conference will be a great opportunity for local people to be involved with our work and to contribute their views, ideas and experiences as we look at shared solutions we can adopt in the district.”

Environmental concerns have been elevated to the top of the political agenda in West Berkshire this year.

May’s local elections saw three Greens elected to the district council, and they have been at the centre of the debate.

Speen Green councillor Steve Masters said: “I welcome this conference that is being held as a direct result of the strong public feeling across West Berkshire.

“The council need to bring the community with them and ensure the conversation is open and transparent.

“The climate emergency declaration has struck a chord with the public and this conference needs to be one part of the public discourse, not the only element.

“Talk is cheap, the public require action.”

Ridgeway councillor Carolyne Culver – leader of the Green group – said: “We hope the council will include opposition councillors in discussions about the agenda and speakers because we have good connections with local environmental groups.

“It’s a shame it’s not at the weekend because attendance might be better then.”

Newbury MP Richard Benyon will open the conference.

He said: “I think it’s a superb initiative by West Berkshire Council. I’m delighted to have been asked to contribute and I hope that it will be a two-way conversation between those of us in a position to do things to mitigate climate change and the increasing number of local people that are concerned about this issue.

“There’s much that we can be proud about in both West Berkshire and the [wider] UK … but there’s more to do and there are plenty of ways to get involved.”

While the conference is a free event, entry will be limited and each visitor can request no more than four tickets.

Tickets will be available from September 16 at tinyurl.com/yy7moxpa

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