Barnet Council round-up: Climate, homeschooling, roadworks and brown bins
Simon Allin, LDRS
- Credit: Archant
Homeschooling, roadworks, climate change and brown bin rounds have all been on the Barnet Council agenda in recent weeks.
A fresh call for the town hall to declare a climate emergency was voted down on June 2 by Tory councillors who claimed the borough was already pursuing green policies.
The decision, made at a meeting of the environment committee, means Barnet is set to remain one of only four councils in London not to have declared a climate emergency – a formal recognition of the threat posed by climate change.
More than 200 councils across the UK – including many Conservative-run boroughs – and the UK Parliament are among the bodies to have made the declaration.
Barnet Council failed to pass a motion to declare a climate emergency in July 2019, with Labour and the Conservatives subsequently blaming each other for the outcome.
Elsewhere in the borough, a jump in the number of children being homeschooled has led councillors to raise concerns over their learning and safety.
The number of families choosing to teach their children at home in Barnet more than doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic, from around 204 in July last year to 435 in January, according to a Barnet Council report.
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Presented to the children, education and safeguarding committee on June 1, the report reveals the council is updating its policy on home education to build better relationships with home educators and protect the interests of children.
Labour councillors tabled a motion calling on the committee to write to the government to ask that parents who decide to educate their children at home register their intent to do so with councils - which gained the unanimous support of the committee.
In other news, the return of brown bin rounds to Barnet was thrown into question after councillors revealed the decision is subject to a government consultation.
The consultation, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, states that local authorities could be expected to have separate food waste collections in place by the 2024-25 financial year at the latest.
It led one councillor to claim a commitment to bring the collections back had become “even weaker”.
Barnet Council revealed plans to stop brown bin collections in 2018, claiming the move would save £300,000 a year.
Elsewhere, the council came up with a plan to stop roadworks clogging up the borough.
The council’s utilities and highways charter aims to ensure works carried out by utilities firms and other organisations on the roads network are managed and co-ordinated effectively.
A draft version was approved by the council’s environment committee on June 2.