Barnet’s Labour councillors have launched a petition calling on the Barnet Conservatives to scrap a scheme that will build solar panel farms and other renewable energy solutions on some of Barnet’s parks and green spaces.
The forty-five parks and green spaces at risk are all on the Council’s ‘low quality/low value’ list – a category that was invented by the Barnet Conservatives to justify investing less money in some parks.

A Labour motion to scrap the scheme was rejected by the Conservatives at last night’s Full Council meeting (19 January). Every single Conservative councillor present voted against the Labour motion.
The scheme to generate money from building renewable energy facilities in parks was announced at the last Environment Committee.
Labour councillors believe there is other land that the Council owns that would be more suitable for this purpose, and there should be a red line on building anything on parks apart from play equipment or other parks facilities that enhance and improve access to and use of parks.
Labour Childs Hill councillor, Anne Clarke, who raised the issue at the Full Council meeting said: “It is our duty to protect open spaces both for residents today and in future and to help protect our fragile environment.

“There are four low value parks listed in the ward I serve, including the very much-loved Basing Hill and Elm Park. Basing Hill has seen a large increase in use in recent years, including the wonderful Herts Baseball Club and programmes run by The Hope of Childs Hill.

“While pretending to protect our parks, the Conservatives have hatched another terrible plan this time to restrict access and reduce space in them to make money. And the plan is for this to be done in the parks starved of funds in the fictitious ‘low quality / low value’ category.

“I asked every Conservative councillor at the meeting to look at the list of 45 green spaces and ask themselves if they would want to see a loss of space in their ward. They all refused to drop the plan to build these solar farms on our parks.

“This scheme needs to be scrapped, so I appeal to the public to sign and share our petition.”

Barnet Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “Restricting access and building on some of Barnet’s parks and open spaces in order to fill the Council’s financial black hole is outrageous at any time and even more so during the current pandemic. 
“We need more renewable energy but let’s do that by putting solar panels on council offices and other land and not by building on our green spaces.
“Conservative councillors may have deemed some parks and open spaces as low quality/low value, but I know that they are valued by the residents who walk on them, run on them or just look out across them.”
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