With the year’s end in sight, it feels like a time to reflect upon another challenging year for so many, but also to reflect on the many positive ways we have all responded to the pandemic. 

Barnet Council, the NHS, and our voluntary and community sector have continued to do exceptional work to support those most affected by Covid-19 throughout 2021.

 It has also remained inspiring watching our communities support each other during these challenging times and has made me even more proud to call Barnet home.

The pandemic has also afforded us the opportunity to connect with our communities and local areas, valuing our many parks and green spaces.

The council has invested significantly in keeping our public spaces clean while providing outstanding facilities. In the summer our events welcomed tens of thousands of residents to enjoy a multitude of local and live outdoor entertainment.

 At the same time, we have continued filling potholes, weekly bin collections, and investing in communities around the borough.

Into the new year, we plan to build back better. The recent COP26 summit emphasised how sustainability will be integral to how we maintain Barnet as a great place to live. We have already achieved much, such as fitting energy-efficient bulbs in 26,000 streetlights, installing hundreds of electric vehicle charge points, and planting thousands of trees.

I have committed to making Barnet a net-zero carbon council by 2030, and our bold Sustainability Strategy will put the borough on course to be net-zero soon after. 

This winter, we hope to celebrate the season’s festivities with our families and friends for the first time since 2019. It was wonderful seeing Diwali and Chanukah celebrations across the borough, which signalled a beautiful start to a season of togetherness - for our families and our communities. 

Covid-19 has not gone away, and with the Omicron variant and flu circulating too we must all make sure we are keeping safe. This means ensuring you get the two Covid-19 and booster jabs and testing before meeting friends and family so you can enjoy the festivities safely. This is especially important for vulnerable people in our communities, and those eligible should get their flu jab too.

I wish you a merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year.

Cllr Daniel Thomas (Con) is leader of Barnet Council.