Tackling climate change is set to be the talk of the council when Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) members meet later this week.

Climate change activists Extinction Rebellion are set to protest outside the council offices on Wednesday (July 17) before councillors decide how they should combat the issue as members from both the Conservative and Labour groups bring forward their plans.

Tory councillors Dorothy Hayes and John Harrison want to ask the authority’s top team to develop a strategy to address climate change, ensuring the council ‘meets the government target of eradicating its net contribution to climate change by 2050.’

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Cllr Harrison told the News: “We have a manifesto to implement so we have to work out how we are going to keep all our promises – our climate change promises will be on top of that.

“I think it’s important to look at it at all levels and we want to play our part in what happens.

“I have a feeling as technology advances towards 2050 we will have lots of opportunities to use cleaner technology.”

Cllr Harrison, who in May took up the job as the council’s public protection boss alongside environmental chief Cllr Hayes, suggested a strategy could be presented to the council within months if the Conservatives’ motion is given the go ahead.

He told the News measures the authority could take as part of the strategy include planting more trees, looking at how the authority can save energy, and trying to encourage employees to drive to work and meetings less.

Other Berkshire authorities Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire Council have declared a climate emergency in recent months, with Wokingham Borough Council set to follow suit soon.

Despite a petition calling for BFC to declare a climate emergency going live, Cllr Harrison told the News he did not believe the authority needed to do this.

He said: “I don’t think we need to put the word ‘emergency’ in there – we need rational, sensible policies rather than party politics.

Labour members Mary Temperton and Tricia Brown, however, are asking the executive to ‘declare a climate emergency’ and ‘to commit to an action plan to make Bracknell Forest carbon neutral by 2030’.

READ ALSO: Activists call for climate emergency declaration in Bracknell

Cllr Temperton told the News: “We need to show that Bracknell is doing something as well – all the different towns are at it.

“The sooner we identify the need, a group can start looking at it.

“I think 2050 is too long – it has got to be done before then because we have to make a real movement.

“The word emergency starts people thinking it is happening to me and it is real.”

Extinction Rebellion will be protesting outside the council offices from 6.45pm on Wednesday (July 17) as councillors walk in to the authority’s offices.

The group will have banners and petitions as they make their presence known before the council meeting gets underway.

Liberal Democrats Cllr Thomas Parker told the News he would get behind Cllr Temperton’s motion at the forthcoming meeting.

He said: “Climate change is the biggest threat that we collectively face.

“Climate change doesn’t stop at the local authority boundary and so we should be pushing ourselves to be net carbon neutral by 2030.

Councils come together to focus on climate impact

“Only by challenging ourselves to this target and by looking at every single activity the Council conducts will we be able to give this issue the attention and severity it deserves

“I will therefore be backing Mary’s motion with regards to declaring a climate emergency.”

Councillors are set to choose how they will take on climate change at a BFC meeting on Wednesday, July 17.

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