The Environment Agency is hosting 7 public drop-in events from 26 February to 20 March. Come along to find out more about flood risk in Reading and Caversham, what residents can do to prepare and our updated plans for a possible flood scheme. There will also be information on how climate change may increase flood risk in the future.
Over 700 properties are at risk from a major flood in Reading and Caversham. The latest design to reduce flood risk includes a combination of flood walls and embankments, temporary flood barriers and a channel.
After listening to feedback from the public, we have made changes to the proposed design and have new information to share. At the drop-ins, there will be landscape plans and photos showing what the scheme could look like if it is built. There will also be photos of historical flooding and information about local flood risk and how you can sign up for warnings.
It is important to note that the project is still at an early stage, so it does not yet have the relevant permissions and may not go ahead.
We’re planning for the future of transport in Reading and we want to know what you think.
Transport matters to all of us. It connects us with our workplaces, schools, friends and families. It affects our health, the air we breathe, and the streets where we live. It helps our economy to grow and our town to thrive, and it can make the environment around us clean and friendly or dirty and dangerous.
Future travel in Reading is about more than moving people from A to B. It must be affordable and accessible, improve people’s health and wellbeing, support a growing and inclusive economy, enable a carbon neutral future for Reading and harness the latest technology.
The strategy we develop now will shape our town’s transport network to 2036 and beyond, informing the decisions we take, the funding we secure and the changes we make.
Please click here for the survey which is open until 20th September.
Heatwaves happen and they can be particularly dangerous for more vulnerable members of our community. With climate change we expect heatwaves to become increasingly likely so we need to be ready for them.
Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol – water, lower-fat milks and tea and coffee are good options. You can also drink fruit juice, smoothies and soft drinks, but they can be high in sugar. Limit fruit juice or smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day, and choose diet or sugar-free soft drinks.
Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool.
Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
We had a fantastic launch event on the 13th June. This opened the 6 month consultation on the 3rd Reading Climate Change Strategy.
Please do get involved: your ideas, energy and commitment are going to be really important to make a real success of this. You can take part in a number of different ways e.g. by attending meetings, commenting on proposals and encouraging others to also engage in shaping Reading’s future. To get in touch with the various themes, please find the contact details below:
To get involved with these cross-cutting themes, or if you have any general questions or suggestions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each theme will have one of the action plans that are the backbone of the strategy. For more details about all of the themes, please scroll down.
Water Supply and Flooding:
The current strategic priorities are:
to manage supply of and demand for water
to provide guidance about safe reuse of water
to reduce the expected impact of water shortages on consumers and on wildlife
to reduce the risk of flooding, pollution, and potential damage to homes
to develop an adaptation plan for Reading so we can plan for extreme events associated with the changing climate.
Key questions in meeting these aims are:
What will prevent us from getting the water we need?
How can we engage in practical water efficiency messages, calling people to help build a water efficient town, using and reusing water sustainably?
How can we measure the real impacts of flooding, not only as events, but also the damaging effects to the local economy and the domestic, community, and business lives, and not to forget to the sustainability of the town?
We can then use this to draw together an outline plan for the Town of Reading.
To find out more and get involved email: email@example.com
Transport and mobility:
Transport has a key role to play in tackling climate change. Solutions to the transport and mobility question can also improving air quality and promoting health and wellbeing, whilst enabling economic growth and housing delivery. In addition to the Climate Change Strategy, the Council are in the process of updating the transport strategy for Reading, prioritising the provision of sustainable transport to encourage the use of public transport, walking and cycling as an attractive alternative to the private car.
Key questions in meeting these aims are:
What is it about our way of life that encourages private vehicle ownership and non-low carbon transport infrastructure?
What kind of alternatives can we imagine and how might we influence or bring about these changes?
What technologies and solutions can help reduce the dependency on fossil fuel based transport systems whilst continuing to service our economy and communities?
To find out more and get involved email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate change and associated air pollution is worsening physical and mental health and negatively affecting food production.
One of the key questions for this theme is:
In what ways might emphasising climate change as a personal and public health issue in Reading encourage people to participate in steps to curb climate change?
To find out more and get involved email: email@example.com
Natural Environment and Green spaces:
The new local plan requires identification and enhancement of wildlife corridors through the town, connecting the existing green spaces and ensuring that new development contributes rather than detracts from these aims. Private gardens and business sites could be part of the solution. Green spaces need enhancement for nature conservation, management of water flows and droughts, assisting in reducing air pollution and urban heating and improving well-being.
One of the key questions for this theme is:
What are the changes needed and how do we get the community to participate?
Maybe one of the most challenging topics that is on the forefront of the Climate Change issue. We all need to find a way to reduce our energy consumption and use renewable energy for the energy we do use. This is closely linked to carbon emissions and solutions to both problems tend to go hand in hand.
Key questions in meeting these aims are:
How can we bring about a reduction in energy demand?
What renewable energy technologies will be best for Reading and how can these be encouraged and installed?
How can buildings reduce energy consumption and are there alternative ways of heating and cooling buildings?
In short: stuff. Every choice we make about what to buy and consume has consequences. Our society has come to rely on a make-use-dispose model of consumption that assumes resources are infinite – both the raw materials and the energy used to manufacture goods. We have come to expect to be able to buy out of season and non-indigenous foods regardless of the water, materials and energy used to grow, package and transport them. In a zero-carbon future, we will need better ways to harness and conserve resources to deliver the quality of life we desire without leaving an unwelcome legacy for future generations.
One of the key questions for this theme is:
How are we able to consume less or in a much more considerate way?
The cross-cutting themes are common across the strategy. They do not have action plans themselves but they are useful lens to look across the 6 main themes. As we launch the strategy, we have identified 4 cross-cutting themes. This number could grow through time.
Education – this theme covers the interaction with schools, colleges and other educational establishments, as well as a general sharing of our “learning about climate change” so we can all make better informed decisions.
Adaptation (Resilience) – this theme captures the need to “Get Reading Ready” for the changes that we expect to happen with the changing climate. Weather patterns are already shifting, and the risks associated with extreme events are increasing. We must prepare for this, and our First Reading Adaptation Plan will help to guide our initial steps.
Business – the business community has a very important role in helping us to deliver our strategy, as well as ensuring that each individual business is switched-on to the twin challenges of getting ready for climate change and cutting our carbon footprint to zero by 2030.
Community – the community of Reading is diverse and complex, with varying levels of engagement and capacity when it comes to climate change. We need to grow the Reading Climate Action Network (ReadingCAN) to make sure we get through to everyone who lives, works and visits this town. We need to help people to make good choices and pick up an optimistic vision of the future for Reading.
It was my great pleasure to be interviewed by Ayo Sokale – one of Caversham’s new Councillors. This is the first in a series of five interviews. In this we talk about our plans for new Reading Climate Change Strategy.
We are writing the new strategy between now and Christmas. Please do get involved – you can find out more here:
Whiskas is the leading partner in a new European pet food container recycling programme to collect the plastic packaging that is not recycled through door to door collection systems. The system works through teracycle https://www.whiskas.co.uk/terracycle , an organisation that recycles a whole load of post consumer packaging from Pringles containers to Colgate tooth products and walkers crisp packets. Probably more pet food manufacturers will join the scheme in the future.
it provides a recycling route for manufacturers whose products do not fit within a normal municipal recycling programme. you’ll find collection points around the area and the money raised goes to various charities. pet food containers are a new venture and teracycle are looking for new collection points. you can do it yourself at home (they’ll send you labels to print for UPS to collect) or set up something in a local church, school or centre available to the public and donate to that charity. at present, they are collecting whiskas wet food pouches, flexible plastic treat and other food bags and similar products in the wellbeloved range for dogs.
You don’t raise a huge amount of money per unit, but there’s a lot of pet owners out there who could contribute to your charity as well as reducing waste to incineration and landfill.
Warning: wash out food pouches in your general washing up/ dishwasher load. if you run hot water separately to do this then you have negated any environmental benefit from recycling. this material currently goes to incineration with energy recovery in this area.
Earth Hour is a global WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund) climate change initiative which brings attention to the effects of climate change by asking people to switch of lights at homes and businesses for an hour at 8.30pm (20:30), local time, usually on the last Saturday of March. This Year it falls on 30th March.
From the Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building to Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle, communities like yours have switched off their lights in a symbolic show of support. Last year over 10 million people across the UK took part to send a clear message: We’re fighting for our world.
How Earth Hour helps?
Many of us feel powerless in the face of overwhelming threats to the planet. But when we all come together for Earth Hour, we create a strong voice that can change things for the better.
The power of our combined voices has already helped to:
Influence climate policy in Russia, Argentina, Ecuador and Wales.
Successfully push for planet-friendly laws, such as a ban on plastic in the Galapagos Islands.
Inspire the world’s first Earth Hour protected forest in Uganda.
And 90% of people who take part in Earth Hour say it inspires them to do more to protect the planet
What you can do?
It would be great if everyone can kindly turn off their lights, Computers and any electronic items they use on Saturday the 30th of March from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.
WWF have partnered with Ariel to donate £1 for just pledging to make a change. So please go ahead and Make a Pledge for this amazing cause.
The annual UN Climate Conference, COP24 is taking place in Katowice, Poland. It started on the 2nd Dec and will finish on the 14th Dec. 190 countries are meeting at COP24 and must get results on action towards all countries’ Paris Agreement targets.
Teams of students from secondary schools across Reading, representing 15 countries from Fiji to USA, met in the Council Chambers on Wednesday 5th December to carry out their own talks on progress towards the Paris Agreement and try to negotiate raising ambition for more action.
Prof. Paul Williams from University of Reading addressed the children and emphasized the realities of global warming and human interference. Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, said: “Climate change is a subject which young people rightly feel passionate about. The mock conference was opened by the Mayor of Reading, councillor Debs Edwards and children were asked to exchange ideas to tackle this global problem.
What is happening on Climate Change around the world?
On 3rd Dec 2018, Sir David Attenborough said the below at the COP24
“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years, Climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
The clear messages the students gave for everyone in the Council Chambers were on similar lines too:
the immediacy of the effects of climate change for every country in the world, the effects being especially hard-hitting for vulnerable countries
the complexity of decision-making and contradictions of policy-making, particularly where economic interests based on fossil fuels, and political reticence are taking precedence
the vital part that cooperation between countries can play in increasing momentum by helping to distribute finance, and to learn from great ideas that are already working elsewhere in the world.
What can we do locally about Climate Change?
The second part of the conference brought Local Action into sharp focus. The extent of the commitment to climate action by Local Government was strongly conveyed by Cllr Tony Page in his opening words and Chris Beales, Chair of the Reading Climate Change Partnership. He stressed the part that each individual has to play, and what students in particular can do to help galvanise others.
“…schools are really influential parts of our community, if you pass on what you know about climate change to your fellow students, and teachers…and you all pass on to your friends and families…we can reach a lot of people. And this is such an important issue…we need you to pester, and jump up and down about this until we get it sorted.” – Chris Beales
Sustainability experts from Reading Climate Change Partnership, Reading Council’s Sustainability Team and local organisations provided details of great local initiatives and ways for students to make a difference: from energy use in school, growing food, using green space differently through to signing up to a transport initiative or influencing recycling. Each school went away with at least one idea or ‘pledge’ for what they can do, and ICN will follow to make sure that the tools are in place for going about it.
Our huge thanks go to Reading Borough Council for hosting the event and Reading Climate Change Partnership for its support.
Workshop contributors: Nature Nurture, Reading Borough Council Sustainability Team, Reading Climate Change Partnership, Reading International Solidarity Centre, Reading 2050, Stuart Singleton-White COnsultant, University of Reading Dept of Environmental Science.
Come and join us at the Reading Town Meal on Saturday 29th September. We are going to use this as an opportunity to launch our new website and the revised Reading Climate Change strategy.
Please do come and find us on one of the stalls. You can find out more about our aims for the next couple of years, and find out how you can get involved.
and there’s still time to sign up and help with this year’s meal. Can you provide some excess vegetables from your garden? help to collect equipment and supplies? help on the day? see the main town meal website for more options and to sign up
“Climate Just is an information tool designed to help with the delivery of equitable responses to climate change at the local level. Its main focus is to assist the development of socially just responses to the impacts of extreme events, such as flooding and heatwaves, as well as supporting wider climate change adaptation. It also includes issues related to fuel poverty and carbon emissions.”
There is a lot of useful information on this website, which will be useful for many members of RCAN.