Agenda item

Andy Croy asked the Executive Member for Climate Emergency the following question:



The Climate Emergency Action plan is not fit for purpose.  The plan will not cause the Borough to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.  It has taken a whole year for this to be acknowledged.   What changes to the Plan will be made to ensure the Borough reaches Carbon Neutrality by 2030?





The Climate Emergency Action plan is not fit for purpose. The plan will not cause the Borough to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.  It has taken a whole year for this to be acknowledged. 


What changes to the plan will be made to ensure the Borough reaches Carbon Neutrality by 2030?



Thank you for your question.


The purpose of the climate emergency action plan is to provide a working document that acts as a planning tool.  It provides an understanding of the Council's trajectory, the scale of ambition and the complexity of the challenge ahead.  Identifying which actions need to be implemented to achieve the 2030 goal of net carbon neutral.  This is a ten-year plan and it is expected that this will change significantly over time, as many of the actions will develop as new information emerges and new actions are identified over the next years.


As a Council, we are leading the way, in being bold and aspirational by publishing an action plan that provides a high level of detail about our carbon targets and how we are planning to achieve them.  Within the document, we establish that even if all of the actions in the plan are implemented, there will still be a shortfall of 72.67 ktCO2e from the aspirational net-zero carbon target by 2030.  This is an important piece of information that the action plan has helped us to identify so we can understand what more needs to be done to become net carbon zero.  The Council will seek to close this gap by continually reviewing the action plan.  Providing more accurate carbon savings against individual actions, as projects are introduced and develop.


Despite the Council’s, best efforts many of the outcomes rely on factors which are outside the Council’s control.  The effective delivery of this action plan depends on the influence and support of multiple agencies and stakeholders such as businesses, Town and Parish Councils, the University of Reading.  The Council is committed to working in partnership to achieve these ambitious goals.  Responsibilities will be made clear in future iterations of the action plan.


Central to delivering the climate emergency targets is engaging with our residents and the community so that they can became an integral part of the Borough’s response to the Climate Emergency.  The Council will also develop a behavioural change and engagement program that will support our residents at the different stages of this journey.


The plan has been reviewed independently by our partners in the Climate Emergency Advisory Board, which is formed with representatives from organisations including businesses, charities and academia including the University of Reading, National Grid, Greater South East Energy Hub, Chairman of WBC Business Group, Sustrans and Scottish Southern Electric. 


Supplementary Question:

There are 317 milestones in the Plan and 84 of them have no impact at all.  There is a lot of puff in this Plan.  If I can just draw your attention to one part of the Plan.  To have 50% of new vehicle registrations to be electric vehicles.  According to the Plan that would kill 45,000 tonnes of carbon for the year.  Now that is an absurd statistic – 50% of all vehicles to be electric is 900.  It is not going to do anything like that.  The real figure for that should be 2,000.  So just in 30 seconds, we have taken away 20% of the carbon savings that you think that you are going to make.  The fact is, this Plan does not add up does it?


Supplementary Answer:

As I have said Councillor Croy, the action plan is a living and breathing document.  Things are going to come into it and things are going to come off of it.  You raised this point in terms of new vehicle registrations during the Task and Finish Group, and I have promised to get you an answer on that and we will get you one.


I genuinely believe that is taking our carbon budget down significantly already.  There are more plans, more programmes, in the works, in the background that we are doing the due diligence on, and that we need to evaluate on behalf of our residents.  We have got to do it properly.  New targets, new initiatives will come onto this Plan over the next 10 years.  I am sorry that you do not believe that that is the case, but many, many actions have come on over the last year that have taken our carbon emergency plan down, our carbon budget down.  More will come and things like solar farms were not pre-existing actions.  They are new to our Plan.  They are going to take our carbon footprint down massively.