Manifesto for Local Council Elections 2022

Barnet Green Party policies we want to promote in the local council elections in May:

An End to “Easy Council”

Barnet Green Party thinks that Barnet Council’s experiment with outsourcing has been proven to be a costly failure. Originally promoted as a way to save money, Barnet’s outsourcing deal with Capita has proved expensive, has provided poorer quality services for residents, and has resulted in one major fraud conviction. It’s time to bring all Council services back in-house.

Action on the Climate Emergency

Across the country and across London, local authorities, often prompted by Green Party politicians, have been making declarations about the climate emergency. Declarations focus the minds of both elected councillors and council officers on the need for urgent climate action and help shape policies to mitigate the worst aspects of the impending climate and ecological disaster.

Barnet is one of only 4 councils in London that has not yet made a Climate Emergency declaration. In a recent survey by the Council Climate Scorecards watchdog Barnet failed to score any points for its climate readiness and so was rated as 0%. In contrast, Enfield scored 46% and Brent scored 73%.

Barnet’s current Sustainability Plan is inadequate and unambitious. It’s stated aim is only to show that Barnet is working towards meeting national government targets, rather than leading the way in addressing the real dangers of climate change.

Stop the Edmonton Incinerator

Barnet Green Party is opposed to the expansion of the Edmonton incinerator which is run by the North London Waste Authority (the NLWA - Barnet is one of the 7 councils that make up the Authority).

A bigger incinerator is an easy option, but instead of burning our rubbish the Council should be promoting waste reduction and reuse at all stages of the economic cycle, not just by households. Barnet’s recent decisions on household waste management - charging for green waste collection, and abolishing the separate food waste collections - should be reversed, and Green Party councillors, if elected, would call for a complete revision of waste management policies.

We call on the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) to pause and review.

Action on Traffic and Transport

Between 20% and 30% of households in Barnet do not have access to a private car (and the average is 50% across London) (source). Barnet Council’s transport policy seems to be unaware of this fact. Barnet’s sustainability strategy talks about introducing more electric vehicle charging points, as if that was the complete solution. Electric vehicles are not pollution free, and charging points can restrict pavement space if not properly planned.

Barnet Green Party supports the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to cover the whole of London, as one way to tackle pollution and improve air quality, especially near the major roads that cross the borough. We also call for the introduction of a borough-wide 20 mph speed limit, and would investigate the implementation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

Some cycle lanes have been introduced recently on a temporary basis, but these need to be made permanent and more safe cycling routes need to be established. The Council should also consider which town centre car parks should be repurposed as green spaces.

Barnet Green Party recognises that the best way to get people out of their cars is to make sure that public transport alternatives are readily available. Barnet must work with Transport for London to improve the availability and accessibility of bus services across the borough, and in particular to improve the services to local hospitals.

Action on Housing and Development

The housing shortage in London is most acute for single adults and young families who struggle to find a genuinely affordable home to purchase or to rent for the long-term. Barnet Council however, seems to approve more and more luxury developments, which don’t meet local need and price local people out of the market.

Barnet allows developers to miss targets for “affordable” housing and for community contributions, and many projects currently under construction will put unwarranted pressure on local community infrastructure. Development, even of brownfield sites, should be sensitive to the local environment and not put a strain on local services.

Make Barnet and Ad-Free City

Barnet Green Party supports the campaign of Adfree Cities to reduce the number of billboards on our streets, and if elected Green Party representatives would urge the Council to use its existing powers to do this. Corporate advertising promotes big brands rather than local businesses, and exist to persuade us to buy things we don’t really need, including luxury brands and new cars. In addition, digital billboards use huge amounts of energy and contribute to light pollution.

Protecting our Living Environment

Barnet Green Party representatives, if elected to the Council, would insist on investing more to protect and enhance our parks and open spaces. The Council must ban the use of dangerous chemicals such as Glyphosates and Neonicotinoids which are known to harm the environment.

Barnet Council should be extra vigilant in ensuring that no inappropriate development takes place on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land areas.

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