Urgent – vote to protect the riverside

During the last year green space within Reading has been at a premium. It has never been more heavily used nor as greatly appreciated. Yet at the Environmental Hustings Deputy Leader of Reading Council, Tony Page revealed that he has still not given up on building the MRT. Only the name has changed. It’s now called a Fast Track Public Transport corridor. Its urgent that you use your vote to protect the riverside from concrete. Three campaigns have been fought and won to protect the riverside. Tony Page only has to get lucky once for us to lose this precious resource for ever.

By joining up natural and semi-natural habitats and creating and enhancing wildlife corridors, we can increase the value of our riverside greenspaces as carbon stores and sinks, as well as making it easier for people and wildlife to adapt to climate impacts.

The green corridors along the river Thames provides a route for wildlife to move through the town and urbanised areas. It allows them to colonise different spaces which will improve their resilience as local conditions change. Since we expect higher temperatures and greater risk of drought, as well as more intense periods of rain, these corridors need to contain areas that are big enough to provide shade and shelter.

Protecting and improving the Thames wildlife corridor is beneficial to people as well. It can provide shade for people as they move through the town and surrounding countryside and add greenery to reduce the urban heat island effect, improve air quality and enhance the feeling of wellbeing that we derive from a green and blue environment.

Our precious riverside remains at risk from being turned into a bus lane linking to the unused Park and Ride built beside Thames Valley Park.

A freedom of information request revealed that Reading Borough Council spent £823,861 on external contractors developing the MRT plan. This did not include the cost of Reading’s own Council officers working on the plan, as their time was not accounted for.

The MRT was only the latest in a series of attempts to concrete over the riverside. Others include the Cross Town Route in 1991 and Option D in 1996. Each in turn has been defeated by concerted public campaigns to oppose them but they have resulted in great waste of public funds. Save Our Ancient Riverside calls on all the candidates in the Reading and Wokingham Council elections, to make it clear to the electorate where they stand on this issue.

If you are a Candidate or Councillor in Reading or Wokingham click on the pledge below to sign up and show that you care.

I pledge to protect the green corridor alongside our river Thames in the boroughs of Reading and Wokingham and to work with neighbouring authorities to enhance the biodiversity associated with the river environment.

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