Fifteen Barnet schools near areas where pollution breaches EU legal limits

Fifteen schools in Barnet are in locations where levels of the toxic pollutant Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) breach EU legal limits according to a study commissioned by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

The fifteen schools where air tests showed 40 micrograms, or more, of NO2 per cubic metre of air are:
Wentworth Tutorial College (52 micrograms per cubic metre)
Beis Soroh Schneirer (47.8)
Rhodes Farm School (47.5)
Torah Vodaas (47.1)
Mapledown School (46.5)
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School (46.1)
Ayesha Community School (45.1)
Unity Girls High School (45.1)
Beis Medrash Elyon (44.7)
Wessex Gardends Primary School (43.1)
Whitefield School (41)
Tudor Primary School (40.7)
Beis Yaakov Primary School (40.6)
Hasmonean Primary School (40.1)
The Orion Primary School (40)

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Barnet Labour: "Stop commercial vans turning residential streets into car parks."

Barnet's Labour councillors are calling for action to stop large commercial vans from parking during the day and overnight, often for days at a time, in residential roads with no parking restrictions, saying it is "turning residential areas into car parks."

The growing practice occurring in areas across the borough prevents residents and their visitors from parking near their homes, deprives properties of daylight and obscures the front of buildings and pedestrians from view which makes people feel unsafe.

Mayfield Gardens in West Hendon is one of the streets affected, and local councillor Dr Devra Kay has now got agreement that a report on potential solutions will be brought back to a future Environment Committee.

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Latest residents' survey: a further one in ten residents no longer thinks Barnet Council is trustworthy

There has been a 10 percentage points (one in ten) drop (from 71% to 61%) in the proportion of residents who think that Barnet Council is trustworthy in just six months according to the Council's latest official Residents’ Perception Survey (Autumn 2016 survey compared to Spring 2016 survey).

In total, just over a quarter of respondents to the survey (26%) now do not think Barnet Council is trustworthy.

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Barnet Tories u-turn on outsourcing street cleaning and waste services

Decision on the future delivery of Barnet's Streetscene services - recycling and waste collection, street cleansing and green spaces maintenance - has been delayed after the Council's Environment Committee (15 March) ruled out outsourcing the service to a private contractor, and agreed further information was needed on other options for running streetscene services.

Labour councillors successfully argued at the meeting that a full in-house option for the service should be included for consideration when the issue comes back to the Environment Committee.

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Labour councillors call for air quality audit around Donoghue's skip hire in Claremont Road NW2

Labour councillors have called for the council to commission a full air quality audit around the site of Donoghue's waste management and skip hire at last night's Environment Committee (15 March). Residents have complained about dust pollution and debris caused by 7.5, 20 and 40 tonne lorries making hundreds of trips on a daily basis to and from Donoghue's.

Cllr Alon Or-bach submitted a member's item to the Environment Committee, and asked for the Committee to discuss what action the Council could take to tackle the pollution. He also asked for any air quality audit to include the neighbouring children's play area, nearby community centre and also Handley Grove which is next to the site.

The Committee did not have time to discuss the member's item, but local resident and campaigner Lisa Pate spoke at the beginning of the meeting on the issue. Councillors at the committee meeting agreed with her that more needed to be done to tackle the problems caused by the Donoghue site, including action by the Council and Environment Agency.

The member's item follows unsuccessful attempts by the Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee (ARG) to find another location for the Donoghue's skip hire to move to.

Labour councillors are running a petition calling for the Council to support the relocation of Donoghue's, and will continue to raise the issue at future committee meetings.

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Barnet Tory Leader: Extra police "not worth the money"

Barnet's Conservative Council Leader, Richard Cornelius, described a proposal for 15 extra neighbourhood police officers as "not worth the money" during last night's Full Council budget debate (7 March).

Labour councillors included funding for the 15 extra beat police officers in their alternative budget - taking advantage of the Mayor of London's 'buy one get one free' police offer to local councils.

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Finchley and Edgware Jobcentres set to close next year

Barnet's Labour councillors have raised the proposed closure of Finchley and Edgware Jobcentres at last night's Policy & Resources Committee (23 Feb) as an urgent item, and are urging residents to respond to the public consultations by the deadline which closes on Tuesday 28 February at 5pm.

The Jobcentres are set to close when the Department for Works & Pensions buildings contract expires on 31 March 2018, after which people will need to travel to the two remaining Jobcentres in Hendon and High Barnet to access job search advice and welfare services in the borough.

Labour councillors pointed out that High Barnet and Hendon are not "neighbouring" alternatives for people living in Finchley and Edgware as suggested in the consultation. The highlighted travel time of 23 minutes from Finchley to High Barnet is in reality much longer on public transport, and more likely to take up to an hour at peak times for example.

Labour councillors also said that the closures cut across the One Public Estate programme which Barnet is part of piloting, where public sector bodies are encouraged to share buildings and co-locate services. Under the programme the council has secured £500,000 towards bringing public sector services together in shared facilities.

The Committee agreed that a response to the Jobcentres consultation would be drafted by officers and circulated for agreement to members of the committee before the deadline.

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Residents may be entitled to compensation for water supply interruption

Barnet's Labour councillors are calling for residents and businesses affected by the Affinity Water service interruption to check if they are entitled to be compensated under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS) laid down by Government. The scheme sets out that every customer affected by unplanned water supply interruptions may be entitled to £20 in compensation if the supply is not restored within 12 hours, or within 48 hours if there was a leak or burst in a strategic main, and then £10 for every 24 hours thereafter.

The failure of a valve at the Arkley reservoir this week led to thousands of Barnet residents being without water. A fault occurred during routine maintenance on Monday 20th February, meaning water supplies were disrupted to most residents on the east of the Borough from High Barnet to East Finchley.

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Barnet Tories support cuts to schools' funding as "fair" in government consultation response

  • Labour councillors vote to reject any cut to schools' funding

Barnet's Conservative councillors have accepted potentially devastating funding cuts to Barnet schools in their response to a government consultation on the new National Funding Formula.

The draft consultation response presented to last night's Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding (CELS) Committee (21 Feb) did not argue for schools' funding to be levelled-up to ensure no school loses out. Currently there is a £250m funding gap for schools in England in the national funding formula, with many Barnet schools set to lose funding. Labour councillors moved an amendment to the consultation response asking for the Government to put back the £250m into the schools funding budget, but the Conservative councillors on the committee voted against this.

The Conservative Chair of the committee then used his casting vote to stop the report being classed as a 'key decision' and prevented it from being referred up to Full Council for further discussion.

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Councillor calls for action to clear up fly-tipped East End Road car park

Labour East Finchley Councillor, Arjun Mittra, has asked Barnet Council's environmental health team to take action against a fly-tipped private car park in East End Road, behind a shopping parade that includes Iceland and Budgens on East Finchley High Road.

Environmental health visited the site on 10 February and have served a notice on the freeholder asking them to clear the site within 14 days.

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