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Funding questions asked over council's climate strategy

The council is urging people to provide feedback on its draft environment and climate strategy as the deadline looms, but the area’s branch of The Green Party has asked questions over funding.

Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s), the council’s lead member for climate change and sustainability, wants more people to respond to the ‘wonderful’ document.

A public consultation was launched on the draft strategy back in July and will close later this month, on Tuesday, September 29.

It was created after the Royal Borough declared a climate emergency last year, while a draft plan was approved by councillors in June.

Cllr Stimson asserted that the document is ‘full of great ideas’, adding that she will be at the imminent opening of the new, more environmentally-friendly, Braywick Leisure Centre to hand out copies.

The strategy aims to make the borough a net-zero carbon one by the year 2050.

Cllr Stimson told the Advertiser: “The document is wonderful, it is full of great ideas, so we are saying to every resident in the borough: what do you think of it, what is good, what is not, is a 2050 [target] too late, should it be earlier?”

She added: “This is your borough, tell us what you like and do not like about our strategy.”

The Environment and Climate Strategy is made up of four themes – a

‘circular economy’, such as more sustainable resource use; energy; the natural environment; and transport.

To get involved in the consultation, click here.

The East Berkshire Green Party (EBGP) has asked questions over funding and why the council did not bring forward its net-zero target date.

“Other council’s have targeted 2030, including neighbouring Wokingham, why can’t RBWM?” EBGP co-ordinator Duncan Brindley said.

“Every decision the council makes needs to be based on an awareness of the dangers of the emergency. It needs to become part of the council’s DNA.

“The objectives are inadequate, they don’t for example include the upfront and ongoing costs and where the money will come from.

“The strategy needs to be completely rewritten.”

In response, Cllr Donna Stimson, the council’s lead member for climate change, said funding has been hard to come by amid the council’s financial state – but there are options, including Government help.

“There are so many different areas and we are looking at all of them,” she said.

“I understand exactly where they [The Green Party] are coming from and it would be wonderful to have money to spend and to say: ‘this is for trees’.

“But we just do not have that at the moment.

“We are going out looking for money.”

On the 2030 target, she added: “I think that 2030 is overly ambitious given we are already in 2020, and we have a huge amount of houses to build by 2033.”

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