Reading marks three years of action since declaring a climate emergency

Residents, businesses and local organisations in Reading are being urged to triple their efforts to tackle climate change, on the three year anniversary of the Council declaring a climate emergency.

On 26th February 2019 Reading Borough Council declared a climate emergency on behalf of the wider community.

To mark the three-year anniversary the Reading Climate Change Partnership and the Council are asking residents, businesses and local organisations to triple their efforts and take advantage of the information and resources on the Reading Climate Action Network (Reading CAN) website.

With growing concerns about the cost of living, there are positive steps we can all take to save carbon and save money, including:

  • Walk, cycle or use public transport instead of driving.
  • Reduce food waste – freeze leftovers and check your fridge temperature is between 0-5 C.
  • Repair, Recycle and Reuse;
    • Shop for bargains in charity shops rather than buying new
    • Repair clothes and re-sole shoes rather than buying new ones
    • Invest in reusable; use your own cup in coffee shops and fill up your own water bottles
  • Turn down thermostats and switch off appliances where possible – depending on your age the ideal room temperature is 18-19C during winter.
  • Skip meat for one day a week - reduce your annual carbon footprint by the equivalent of not driving your car for a whole month.

Local achievements by the Council and other partners since the climate emergency was declared include:

  • Reading Borough Council named as one of only 11 UK local authorities, and one of just 95 across the world, to make a coveted CDP ‘A’ list on climate action – the accolade awarded for bold leadership on environmental action and transparency.
  • Continued investment in a strong public transport network and bus priority measures which saw Reading continue to buck the national (pre-pandemic) trends for bus use.
  • Community-led action to promote ‘plastic-free’ initiatives such as Refill Reading, with Caversham working towards Plastic Free Community accreditation.
  • Reading Borough Council cut its carbon footprint by 69.8% in just 12 years.
  • The borough’s overall carbon footprint cut by 49% since 2005 - the 5th largest reduction of 379 UK local authority areas.
  • Launch by the Council of the first fully electric waste collection vehicle in Berkshire in November 2021 making collections from 1,400 houses daily and driving 8,000 miles a year with no tailpipe emissions - saving 32,200kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year compared to a diesel equivalent.
  • Development of ‘nature-based climate solutions’: Trees for Reading and ‘re-wilding’ trials in green spaces across the town; plus the installation of ‘living’ bus shelters at the A33, opposite Kennet Island, and at Christchurch Green - helping to improve local environments and absorb traffic fumes and rainwater.
  • Increased recycling rates from 32% up to 52% over the last year thanks to the introduction of food waste collections for residents.
  • Reading Borough Council’s own housing has achieved an average Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘C’ compared to the national average of ‘D’, with plans to invest an additional £34m over the next 5 years in measures which will further improve energy efficiency
  • Opening of the Reading Hydro scheme in 2021, driven forward by the volunteer-led Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society, the scheme harnesses the power of the Thames to save approximately 5,600 tonnes of CO2 over its 40 year design life.

Continued and sustained effort will be needed to increase the rate of emissions reduction between now and 2030 and will need buy-in from everyone in Reading.

Working together we can rise to this vital challenge for future generations of Reading.

Last updated on 23/02/2022