The UK’s first 100% electric coach stopped off for a look at the Newbury College Renewables Centre on Wednesday 08 September, as it continues its journey from The Eden Project to COP26 (the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference).

The Zero Carbon Tour, operated by Planet Mark, is accelerating the UN-backed Race to Zero as part of the UK's #TogetherForOurPlanet campaign, and provided the ideal opportunity to showcase how Berkshire is leading the global green agenda on a local level.

The event also marked the launch of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) first Berkshire Net Zero Carbon Research Report, sharing the first in a series of priorities that will ensure that Berkshire plays a leading role in the UK’s drive to net zero carbon emissions.

Sending a video message from Parliament before the launch, Laura Farris MP for Newbury and Vice Chair of the APPG for the Environment said: “I'm proud of the energy and the commitment that's been shown by so many businesses locally, and of course I'm proud of Newbury College and the Renewable Centre that is supporting the plumbers and the heating engineers of, putting our local workforce at the very heart of the net zero endeavor for the South East.”

Net Zero is dependent on people who have the skills to bring green plans to life and progress is already being made in this regard. The launch of this report at Newbury College’s new Renewables Centre, where the LEP has invested £450,000 of the Government’s Getting Building Fund represents one such key project. The centre will expand the delivery of skills for renewable energy systems and engineering, including biomass boilers, air source heat pumps, solar PV and fuel cell systems.

Iain Wolloff, Principal and Chief Executive of Newbury College, said: “We are delighted to host this important event to support the region’s drive to net zero. We are determined that the College will play a leading role in providing the skills needed for ‘green jobs’ and our new Renewables Centre is a fantastic start.”

Newbury College has been an important part of the educational landscape of West Berkshire for over seventy years and is continuing to develop its learning campus, to meet the needs of local people and of the economy. The addition of the new Renewables Centre, along the the introduction of T Levels in September 2022, demonstrate the College’s commitment to focus on careers, not courses, and support the economic recovery of the local community.