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Climate change emergency declared in West Berkshire 

Councillors in the West Berks debating chamber have unanimously agreed to declare a climate emergency.

The decision came about following a passionate debate from all sides of the chamber with the message from the United Nations that we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe at the forefront of everyone's minds.

As part of the Motion submitted in the name of Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter, it noted the consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be of the utmost urgency.

During a passionate speech, which was greeted by cheers from members of the public, Cllr Owen Jeffery questioned the Council's response to the emergency so far with many complicated solutions being suggested previously and said there were simple but practical things that could be done.

He said: "If we only have 10 to 15 years to get climate change under control, we need to think more aggressively and more challengingly and more thoughtfully about what we are going to do. The very first place we need to do it is making sure we do not have a single party environmental voting group, but it is cross-party."

Newly-elected Cllr Steve Masters, said: "The focus turns now to the future and how we move forward from here.

"How many of the Council members have given up flying as part of their responsibility to a commitment of a zero carbon future? If you are doing your best in recycling that's great or you have got your bamboo tooth brush, but if you take a transatlantic flight once or twice a year, that's all undone. You have to take responsibility, so the expansion of Heathrow is not compatible with that.

"This motion is the first step. We need to be innovative, ambitious but above all, serious in our actions. Half measures aren't going to cut it. Business as usual wont deliver on our aspirations and like i said the third runway is an example of this.

"I will be pushing hard to ensure we deliver real change."

A West Berkshire Council climate change conference is being planned and will take place in October with members of the community invited input their ideas. More details will be revealed soon.

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