Barnet’s Labour councillors will be asking for a report on post-pandemic recovery planning at tonight’s Urgency Committee. In line with their Earth Day statement of last week, the Labour Group will be asking for actions to tackle the climate emergency to be a central part of this recovery planning.

The amendment also asks for the following (not exhaustive) elements to be included in the recovery planning:

  • council services
  • the recovery of the local economy and our high streets
  • a more integrated and comprehensive approach to tackling the climate emergency in council business planning and regeneration
  • maintaining and supporting the evolving partnership approach with local community organisations, networks, platforms and voluntary work that has arisen to respond to the pandemic
  • a focus on tackling social isolation and the digital deficit for vulnerable groups including older people
  • a sustainable plan for ensuring rough sleepers are not just returned to the streets post-pandemic
  • looking at housing investment opportunities that may be good value post-pandemic and help sustain local economic activity
  • planning for a second wave of the pandemic

At last October’s Full Council meeting Labour councillors called on the Council to consider Friends of the Earth proposals to tackling the climate emergency, but no further action on this has been reported by the Council. The Friends of the Earth proposals included:

  • increasing home insulation and eco-heating,
  • targets on increasing cycling, walking and use of public transport and a reduction in car use,
  • ways to support an increase in production of renewable electricity,
  • increasing tree coverage in Barnet from 10% to 20% to build on funding provided by the Mayor of London to plant more trees in Barnet,
  • an ongoing public awareness campaign to reduce engine idling,
  • increasing the reduce, re-use and recycle target in Barnet and developing a zero waste plan,
  • review of investments held by the Council’s pension fund in fossil fuel companies with a view to divest,
  • ensuring London Plan zero-carbon requirements for development are being met

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us all just how much can be achieved when it is absolutely necessary.

“Action on climate change is absolutely necessary, and we believe it should be given even greater focus after the current pandemic lock-down restrictions have been lifted.

“This should happen as an integral part of the efforts that will be needed to recover from the pandemic, and it is in that context that I will be raising it at the Urgency Committee on Monday night next week.”

 

Labour spokesperson for Environment, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “I think the Tories seem a bit confused on the issue of declaring a climate emergency. They recognise that there have been other such declarations, but repeatedly refuse to back Barnet Labour councillors in our call for Barnet Council to declare a climate emergency. But this is far too important for us to stop trying. Air pollution has fallen during the lockdown, but we want to see tackling climate change as a key part of the council’s recovery planning. This will only be done by building on the start that has been made and working together with the Mayor of London and others.”

 

Notes:

  1. Labour’s proposed amendment for tonight’s Urgency Committee:

Urgency Committee: 27 April 2020

Agenda Item 6: Approval of emergency decisions and delegation to chief officers

Amendment: Cllr Barry Rawlings

 

Add Recommendation 23:

That the Committee instructs officers to bring a brief report to either the next meeting of the Urgency Committee or Policy & Resources Committee on post-pandemic recovery planning to include:

  • council services
  • the recovery of the local economy and our high streets
  • a more integrated and comprehensive approach to tackling the climate emergency in council business planning and regeneration
  • maintaining and supporting the evolving partnership approach with local community organisations, networks, platforms and voluntary work that has arisen to respond to the pandemic
  • a focus on tackling social isolation and the digital deficit for vulnerable groups including older people
  • a sustainable plan for ensuring rough sleepers are not just returned to the streets post-pandemic
  • looking at housing investment opportunities that may be good value post-pandemic and help sustain local economic activity
  • planning for a second wave of the pandemic

Reasons for taking amendment at Urgency Committee:

The pandemic has had a significant impact across council service delivery and the local economy. We don’t know how long the pandemic lock-down will last so recovery planning needs to start now. Elected members must be able to have formal committee oversight of this and be able to shape the recovery plans. While there is talk of possibly holding a P&R meeting in May, no actual meetings have been scheduled to meet at the moment so the only place to start the discussion about this is at Urgency Committee on Monday.

  1. Labour’s last Climate Emergency motion, July Full Council (Agenda Item 14.1):https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=162&MId=9952&Ver=4
  2. Labour’s motions on climate change, October Full Council (Agenda Item 14.2): https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=162&MId=9953&Ver=4
  3. Details of the Urgency Committee for 27 April:https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=716&MId=10375

 

For more information contact:

Cllr Barry Rawlings: 07833 530 593

Cllr Alan Schneiderman: 07956 487 144

Recovery planning
Recovery planning
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