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West Berkshire Council launches its Environment Strategy

West Berkshire Council is to launch its ambitious new Environment Strategy 2020-2030 today.

environment strategy is launched

The pdf icon Environment Strategy 2020-2030 [2Mb], which was subject to public consultation earlier this year, will outline the steps the Council and its partners intend to take in order to reach the district's target of carbon neutrality by 2030. Its delivery has been accelerated as a result of the priorities outlined in the pdf icon West Berkshire Council Strategy 2019-2023 [13Mb] and was approved by Executive yesterday (16 July).

In developing the strategy, the Council held a series of public engagement events including the first ever Climate Conference in October 2019 at Newbury College, as well as a number of workshops where the public were invited to give their views, and drop in sessions in libraries. An online public consultation was held in January 2020 for 6 weeks which received over 500 responses from town and parish councils, community groups and individuals across the district. All the material from the variety of ways the community made their contributions was considered during the drafting of the final strategy.

The strategy's vision is based on the five principles of mitigation, restoration, protection, partnership and integration. It contains a number of initiatives and projects that will contribute to the target of carbon neutrality by 2030; whether through infrastructure improvements, support for industry, investment in active lifestyle opportunities, or enhanced community engagement.

Among the proposed actions set out in the draft strategy are:

  • The launch of a first of its kind Climate Bond to finance green infrastructure projects.
  • A series of Solar PV projects, ultimately supplying a significant proportion of the District's electricity needs.
  • Further investment in electric vehicle charging points.
  • Natural carbon reduction measures.
  • The establishment of wild flower verges.
  • Support and incentives for new and existing green businesses.

The strategy's progress will be monitored through the council's Environment Board and its delivery will be supported through the newly-established Environment Delivery Team.

Speaking about the Strategy, Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for the Environment at West Berkshire Council, said:

"The challenge we all face with regard to climate change is clear and here in West Berkshire we are playing our part to mitigate the impact it has on our people, our wildlife and our environment.

"We are excited to be launching this new Environment Strategy, which has been produced in consultation with the wider public, various local groups and attendees at the events we held in recent months. The feedback we have received has been positive and we look forward to working with the community to deliver the projects it contains.

"Successive West Berkshire administrations have prioritised environmental protection and some of the initiatives we have delivered previously have been very successful. This strategy gives us an opportunity to build on this and to contribute to our shared vision for carbon neutrality in our district."

Read the full pdf icon Environment Strategy 2020-2030 [2Mb].

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