ENVIRONMENTAL activists demonstrated outside the council’s offices last night (Wednesday, July 17) as councillors came together to create a plan to tackle climate change.

Conservative and Labour members were set to bring separate climate action plans to a meeting of all the borough’s councillors but settled on a mix of the two after debating the issue.

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Tory Cllr Dorothy Hayes presented her strategy first, asking her Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) colleagues to support developing a strategy which ensures the council eradicates its net contribution to climate change by 2050.

Her motion was proposed to be amended by Labour Cllr Mary Temperton, who wished to see ‘climate emergency’ added to the plans, a 2030 target instead of 2050, and an action plan detailing the council’s progress in tackling climate change included in the strategy.

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Cllr Temperton said: “The word emergency is not to alarm, it’s a call to action. We have to change the way we live.

“Publishing results will encourage more residents to buy into the changes as they will celebrate the success they are making.”

Including an action plan was welcomed by Cllr Hayes, but the council’s environment boss dismissed adding ‘emergency’ or a 2030 target to the strategy.

She said: “The word emergency brings on to people a worry.

“We cannot take 2030 as realistic because it is a legal document we will be working to.

“I brought this motion to council for a reason. As executive member for environment, it is not just in my portfolio, it is for every member in the executive. We work in a partnership.”

Councillors voted to accept an amended version of Cllr Hayes’ motion, meaning an action plan will be included in the council’s strategy and an annual report will be delivered to measure the progress the authority is making.

Cllr Temperton said: “I’m sad about emergency, I’m sad about 2030, but I’m certainly accepting.

“I think it will be the way to go going forward, we can work together and actually make sure we get to these targets and hopefully all working together we will achieve them before 2030 and have a big celebration.”

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A number of councillors told colleagues and members of the public about the work being undertaken to reduce the borough’s impact on the environment.

Conservative Cllr Tina McKenzie-Boyle spoke about all the positive efforts being made in her ward, telling other members: “Crowthorne is the first village in Berkshire to be awarded plastic-free status, which we are very proud of.”

Planning boss Cllr Chris Turrell said going forward, the council would look to offset carbon emissions by planting more trees, build homes in sustainable locations, ensure council buildings are energy efficient, install electric car charging points, reduce congestion and more as part of its strategy.

But Cllr Temperton called for more solar panels to be installed in the town centre.

Before councillors created their plan, Bracknell’s Extinction Rebellion group demonstrated outside BFC’s Time Square demanding the authority takes action on climate change.

Protestor Adam Daum told the News: “The government has come out saying we will be carbon neutral by 2050, but frankly that’s not urgent enough. We need action in the next ten years, otherwise, the planet is not going to be sustainable for our children and grandchildren.

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“At last today Bracknell (Forest Council) is debating a couple of motions about climate change. We’re here to assure them that the local population cares about the climate emergency and we want them to take some serious action urgently.”