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West Berkshire Council publishes carbon neutrality plan

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Increased cycle storage and waste collection reforms among proposals being considered

An action plan setting out West Berkshire's journey to carbon neutrality by the end of the decade has been published.

West Berkshire Council has released a draft delivery plan to complement its Environment Strategy to 2030.

The council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has set the goal of reaching carbon neutrality for the district by 2030.

The draft plan lays out a framework of actions to hit the target, but the council said there will be changes made prior to a formal decision being made by the executive in the summer.

The plan includes separate food waste collections to all eligible households by 2025, working with landowners and farming/agricultural communities on environmental and land management techniques, and increasing cycle storage capacity at secondary schools.

Assessing council land assets for the potential for a solar farm is also included, and the council has announced proposals for a £10m solar farm at Grazeley.

Urban tree planting, switching traffic lights to LED and reusing, recycling and composting at least 60 per cent of municipal waste it handles by 2030 – the current reuse rate is 0.16 per cent – are also included.

West Berkshire Council executive member for environment Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham Colthrop and Crookham) said: "Protecting and preserving our environment as we work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 is a challenge we all face in regards to climate change and sits across all council projects for residents and businesses.

"This draft delivery plan details the actions and timelines we are working on to achieve our main objectives in a way that benefits residents, businesses and our environment. Our objectives include carbon neutrality, responsible economic growth, healthy communities, resilience to climate change and working with our partners and communities.

"With this in mind, the plan will remain 'live' and will be continuously developed between now and 2030. The work to deliver the Environment Strategy will evolve as we develop partnerships and new opportunities arise.

"We want to ensure our draft delivery plan will act as a basis for us to work from and we are encouraging residents and businesses across the district to use this opportunity to read through the draft plan and provide their feedback via our online survey by 26 April 2021."

Comments on the plan can be submitted via the Council's website.

The survey will be open until 11.59pm on Monday, April 26. The council will also be holding a Facebook Live event on its Facebook page at 5.30pm on Tuesday, March 30 with Mr Ardagh-Walter and environment service director Jon Winstanley.

Questions can be submitted beforehand by emailing PR@westberks.gov.uk by 3pm on Friday, March 26.

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