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Utilities

The wind turbine at Readings GreenPark produces enough green electricity for around 1000 homes.Mains water and sewerage services are supplied by Thames Water plc, a private sector water supply company. Water abstraction and disposal is regulated by the Environment Agency. Reading's water supply is largely derived from underground aquifers, and as a consequence the water is hard.

As with the rest of the Britain, the choice of commercial energy supplier for electricity and gas is at the consumer's choice. Southern Electric runs the local electricity distribution network, while Scotia Gas Networks runs the gas distribution network. One notable part of the local energy infrastructure is the presence of a 2 megawatt (peak) Enercon wind turbine at GreenPark, which is wired to the local sub-grid. It was constructed in November 2005 just outside the borders of the borough in the civil parish of Shinfield and is owned by Ecotricity. This turbine can be seen from a large part of Reading, as well as from near junction 11 of the M4. The turbine has the potential to produce 3.5 million units of electricity a year, enough to power over a thousand local homes.

BT provides fixed-line telephone coverage throughout the town, and ADSL broadband internet connection to most areas. Parts of Reading are cabled by Virgin Media, supplying cable television, telephone and broadband internet connections. The dialling code for fixed-line telephones is 0118.

Mobile phone service is available throughout the town, from all the UK licensed network operators and using the GSM and UMTS standards.

 

Transport

Reading's location in the Thames Valley to the west of London means that it has always had a significant position in the nation's transport system.

 

River transport

The town grew up as a river port at the confluence of the Thames and Kennet. Both of these rivers remain navigable, and the locks of Caversham Lock, Blake's Lock, Yale Lock, County Lock, Fobney Lock and Southcote Lock are all within the borough. Today navigation is exclusively leisure oriented, with private and hire boats dominating traffic.

Several scheduled boat services operate on the Thames, operating from wharves on the Reading side of the river near Caversham Bridge. Salters Steamers operate a summer daily service from just downstream of the bridge to Henley-on-Thames, taking somewhat over two hours in each direction and calling at the riverside villages of Sonning and Shiplake. Thames River Cruises operate several different trips from just upstream of the bridge, including a service on summer weekends and bank holidays to Mapledurham, taking 45 minutes in each direction and allowing two hours ashore for visits to Mapledurham Watermill and Mapledurham House. Retail

Besides the two major shopping malls, Reading has three smaller shopping arcades, the Bristol & West Arcade, Harris Arcade and The Walk, which contain smaller specialist stores. An older form of retail facility is represented by Union Street, popularly known as Smelly Alley, a narrow pedestrianised alley lined on both sides by small independent stores, including open fronted fishmongers and greengrocers.

Other than Marks and Spencers, two small branches of Sainsbury's and a few speciality shops such as those in Union Street, food retail has largely deserted the town centre. Large branches of Tescos, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose supermarket chains, with their associated car parks, can be found in suburban and edge of town locations.

The wind turbine at Green Park produces enough green electricity for around 1000 homes.Mains water and sewerage services are supplied by Thames Water plc, a private sector water supply company. Water abstraction and disposal is regulated by the Environment Agency. Reading's water supply is largely derived from underground aquifers, and as a consequence the water is hard.

As with the rest of the Britain, the choice of commercial energy supplier for electricity and gas is at the consumer's choice. Southern Electric runs the local electricity distribution network, while Scotia Gas Networks runs the gas distribution network. One notable part of the local energy infrastructure is the presence of a 2 megawatt (peak) Enercon wind turbine at GreenPark, which is wired to the local sub-grid.

 
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