Carbon emissions in Reading fall by more than 50%

The local authority has cited a range of programmes and schemes as contributing to results, but warns ‘we still have a lot of work to do’. 

Data collected by Reading Climate Change Partnership on behalf of Reading Borough Council confirmed there had been a 51% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005. An increase was recorded year-on-year in 2021, but this reflects wider trends as areas emerged and recovered from pandemic-related lockdowns.

A number of organisations have contributed to this success. For example, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has now engaged with a programme to reuse and repurpose old IT equipment. This alone prevented 379 items being sent to landfills, and instead were recycled, saving 128 tonnes of carbon.

The University of Reading also matched a £2.2million government grant, covering the cost of a large-scale water source heat pump. As a result, the institution has seen its carbon footprint cut by 10%. Reading Council itself was also responsible for impressive reductions, slashing 74% of carbon emissions in 14 years, and 50% of its fossil fuel use. This means the authority has now met its own targets in these areas two years early.

‘While we appear to be heading in the right direction, it is obvious that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve our target for Reading to be net zero by 2030,’ said Cllr John Ennis, lead on climate strategy and transport for the authority. ‘I firmly believe that the combined small actions of many people can make a huge difference.’

A recent air quality survey for the town showed that despite such progress levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) regularly exceed national objectives, but all other forms of air pollution are now consistently within ‘safe’ limits. Nevertheless, even at low levels fine particulates and other pollutants continue to pose a risk to public health.

Image: University of Reading by Andrew Smith


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