In June 2019, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council declared an environment and climate emergency. The issues driving this decision were, and remain, some of the most challenging ever faced by humanity, with our climate changing on a scale and pace that threatens our way of life and that of future generations.
We are now more aware than ever of the threat that climate change poses, and we are confident that if we take urgent and real action, we can turn back this tide.
Our vision is to be a Borough where the community collectively works together to achieve a sustainable future, protecting and enhancing our natural environment and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Environment and Climate Strategy
The strategy formation was spearheaded by a cross-party councillor working group, supported by officers and with input from key stakeholders in the community and various environmental groups, and was approved by the council for public consultation in June 2020.
The Environment and Climate Strategy sets out the Council's vision and actions to achieve the Borough's net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050 and our five year approach to working in partnership with local communities to tackle this challenge. It will drive the decisions, resources and actions we make across all our activities.
The Environment and Climate Strategy focuses on four key themes:
- Circular Economy: More sustainable resource use, increasing recycling rates and supporting less resource-intensive lifestyles.
- Energy: Reducing consumptions and decarbonising our supply of energy.
- Natural Environment: Supporting biodiversity, health and wellbeing.
- Transport: Reduce the need for carbon intensive travel by encouraging walking and cycling, as well as investing in digital infrastructure.
The Environment and Climate Strategy was approved by Cabinet on Thursday 17 December 2020.
Environment and Climate Strategy delivery updates
Household recycling rates have surpassed our initial target of 50%, which was achieved in 2020/21. A new target recycling rate of 65% is hoped to be achieved by 2035. A survey is being conducted to gain a better understanding of the awareness of the Royal Borough recycling facilities and to gather data to populate an online interactive map that will improve the awareness of existing recycling facilities.
In order to encourage waste avoidance and material reuse through our services and operations, an internal audit is currently taking place. The aim of this is to see where improvements can be made to the council's environmental impact, and to reduce single use plastic usage.
To reduce energy demand in the borough, significant funding has been secured to deliver energy efficiency improvement in homes within the borough for delivery in 2022/2023. Additionally, upgrades across the built estate to reduce energy emissions are currently being undertaken, including upgrading lighting and identifying any possible leaks.
The Solar Together initiative has been launched within the borough to help residents to generate their own renewable energy, cut their carbon footprint and save money on their energy bills.
To protect and advance our natural environment, areas of Ockwells/Thriftwood Park and Battlemead Common have been identified for rewilding. Additionally, 13,400 trees have been planted at Ockwells Nature Reserve across the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 planting seasons.
There has been an increase in awareness of biodiversity in the area, with 1500 children from local schools and community groups having participated in environmental education sessions at Braywick Nature during Spring/Summer 2022.
To transform transport and digital infrastructure to reduce the need for travel, the borough is working with other Local Authorities and LEP on a Pan-Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group Board.