Zero Carbon Tour stops over at Newbury College
Newbury College has played host a special electric coach - one of around 1,000 in the UK - as part of an event promoting sustainability in business.
The coach is travelling around the UK on a Zero Carbon Tour outreach initiative by environment consultancy Planet Mark.
It visited Newbury for an afternoon of speeches, presentations and activities, organised in conjunction with the college and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership.
Staff from Planet Mark have been stopping over in British towns and cities and interacting with local people ahead of the landmark COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November.
Newbury MP Laura Farris had planned to attend the event earlier this month, but the Parliamentary debate on tax led to her addressing the gathering in a pre-recorded message.
Mrs Farris said: “I wanted to congratulate the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and Planet Mark for its initiative, for all the work that they’re doing to help businesses in their endeavours to reach net zero.
“The truth is that we can’t possibly meet the 2050 target without the involvement of businesses and I’m working very closely with my colleague Andrew Griffith, who is the tsar on this issue.
“He tells me that 400,000 businesses in the UK have now signed up to this commitment, including half of the FTSE 100, which includes Vodafone right here in Newbury.
“I’m proud of the energy and commitment that’s been shown by so many businesses locally, and of course I’m proud for Newbury College and the renewable centre, which I came here to visit last year.
“That is teaching the plumbers and the heating engineers of tomorrow to install everything from biomass boilers to air source heat pumps, putting our local workforce at the heart of the net zero endeavour for the south-east.
“I suppose the bus today has something of a metaphorical value, because it is really the beginning of a journey in which businesses across the Thames Valley are going to see their practices transformed over the coming years, and I’m looking forward to working with them on getting there.”
Following the presentation in the college auditorium, visitors moved outside to the coach, where Planet Mark’s director of community and partnerships Andrew Griffiths praised local business for its sustainability focus.
He said: “It’s such a privilege for us to be able to come and hear the stories of local action, what’s being done everywhere.
“Especially after the IPCC report recently, there’s a lot of despair, and a lot of people not knowing what the world’s going to look like in a few years’ time.
“We have the real honour to come around, and we’re being filled with optimism and positivity, because we’re hearing everything that’s happening across the country as we travel around.
“I love this renewable centre behind us - we’ve heard time and time again in some of our events in recent weeks of the need for skilled people for putting in the air source heat pumps and the ground source heat pumps, and all of these technologies.
“One of our biggest barriers to scaling is ensuring that the educational needs are being met, so it’s wonderful to be here, seeing where that’s going to be taking place.
“There’s so much already happening across this country, and so much happening in Berkshire, in particular.”