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Public urged to share views on Royal Borough environment plans

Wildlife groups from across the borough have encouraged residents to have their say on the council’s environmental plans.

Six of the borough’s wildlife groups, accounting for about 3,000 people, have urged the public to share their views on the Royal Borough’s draft environment and climate strategy, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality in the borough by 2050 at the latest.

The consultation, which started in July, will end on Tuesday, September 29

Speaking to the Advertiser on Tuesday, Mike Copland, of WildCookham, praised the council for seeking the public’s views, but warned that the draft plan may not be ambitious enough.

He said: “The council have put it out for consultation, they are asking people to come up with ideas to improve it and we are delighted that they are engaging with us.

“But we think it could be more ambitious and more urgent.

“We really do urge people to comment on the plan, this is our future, this is not just another town centre development to car parking plan, this is about the world in which our children and grandchildren will live.”

Mr Copland added that he felt a target of carbon neutrality by 2035 would be more appropriate.

The draft plan seeks to achieve carbon neutrality in the borough through four approaches: by creating a circular economy, where residents take up a more sustainable and less resource-intensive lifestyle; reducing energy consumption and decarbonising the energy supply; supporting the natural environment through biodiversity, health and wellbeing, and reducing the need for carbon-intensive travel by encouraging cycling and walking.

Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) cabinet member for climate change and sustainability, has also urged the public to engage with the consultation, but advised that the borough had to take a more ‘realistic’ approach.

She said: “I’m happy with the plan because we have a funding issue, we are quite limited in terms of what we can expect. If we had a bigger budget we would expect to do more.

“For me it's about how hard we work and what we deliver.

If you create a plan that's brilliant but you don’t have the means to deliver it, it's hopeless.

“Even without funding, we can start to do some things while we go out looking for money for the bigger things.”

To view the draft plan and respond, visit consult.rbwm.gov.uk/portal/cc/decs/decs

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