“CLIMATE change is a bigger problem than Covid-19” — that’s the claim from one councillor at Bracknell Forest Council (BFC).

Councillor Tony Virgo made the suggestion at a BFC meeting after it was revealed the authority’s work to address climate change will be pushed back a number of months.

He said: “I do think climate change is a bigger problem than Covid-19.

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“Covid-19, hopefully, we will get on top of it. We might have a resurgence in the autumn but climate change is forever and will affect the globe.

“To sit and do nothing for months seems to be somewhat frustrating.”

Less than a week before the lockdown was introduced in March, a special climate conference showcased the ways different council departments are contributing to challenging the issue.

A meeting followed the conference where councillors and residents came up with other ways the borough could start reducing its carbon footprint.

This came after councillors agreed in July 2019 to come up with an action plan in which will see the council eliminate its net contribution to climate change by 2050.

A report outlining how the council is progressing with this goal was due to be presented to councillors in July 2020 but this has now been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Gibbs, a director at BFC, suggested several issues at the council will be pushed back four months as the authority recovers from lockdown and starts to get back to normal.

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He said: “There hasn’t really been a consideration of the stuff that came out of the meeting on the 10th of March because we locked down on the 16th of March.

“We had a really successful climate change conference, we had the meeting and then the product never got to the point where we could have the discussion because we were then overtaken by events.”

Mr Gibbs suggested meetings between councillors discussing how the council can move forward in tackling climate change could be discussed in private rather than in public, as the latter takes up too much council resource.

He added: “Climate change is really important and it’s got a big place in my work. I think nothing stops members from privately getting together and having discussions and taking forward some of those ideas.

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“Ultimately we want climate change to be everyone’s business, not stuck in a corner of a department or with a single individual.

“It’s important we’re all in this working together collectively on climate change.”

Councillors discussed this issue at a meeting on Wednesday, May 27.