Reading Borough Council made another significant cut in its carbon footprint last year, bringing the total reduction to an impressive 69.8% in just 12 years.
The 6.3% cut in 2020/21, builds on the significant progress made by the Council since 2008/9, though closures during the pandemic played a part in the steep reduction seen.
The Council’s carbon footprint accounts for less than 1.5% of total emissions for the Borough however, emphasising the importance of residents, communities, businesses and organisations all having a huge role to play in helping Reading achieve its net zero target by 2030.
Latest figures show Reading is responding well with a 49% cut in the Borough’s carbon emissions since 2005, placing it in 5th position out of all 379 local authority areas in the UK. But the rate at which the figure is falling will need to approximately double for Reading to achieve net zero by 2030.
Whilst positive, the figures are therefore no cause for complacency. Continued and sustained effort will be required to increase the rate of emissions reduction between now and 2030. This is a huge challenge which will require buy-in from every single business, organisation and individual in Reading.
The latest figures are outlined in the annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report for 2020/21 produced by the Council, and the first annual report on the Reading Climate Emergency Strategy 2020-25, produced by the Reading Climate Change Partnership. Both annual reports will be discussed at a meeting of the Council’s Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on Tuesday November 16.
While the steep reduction in the Council’s carbon emissions over the last year puts the Council ahead of the curve in terms of the organisational path to net zero by 2030, the Council also acknowledges that the temporary closure of leisure centres, libraries, offices and other buildings in response to the health pandemic was a significant factor. With buildings re-opening, it is possible that emissions will bounce back in 2021/22.
Key factors driving the reduction in the Council’s carbon footprint in recent years include: