Event Meeting Notice

September 2021 Meeting — Updates and Organising

The September meeting of Barnet Climate Action Group is a chance to hear updates from members about their activities, and to organise our plans for the future. It will be held on Zoom on Tuesday 28th September 2021 at 6.30pm. Those on our mailing list will have received the Zoom details. If anyone else would like to join us, please get in touch via the email address at the foot of the page.

We will be covering:

  • An update on Barnet’s Sustainability Strategy
  • BCAG communications with Barnet Council
  • Friends of the Earth communications with Barnet Council
  • Barnet Local Plan
  • Forward looking plan on environment issues national/local
  • Supporting the work of BCAG
  • Phone Hubs
  • AOB

Barnet Local Plan Response

The Barnet Climate Action Group has prepared a response to the latest consultation on the Barnet Draft Local Plan. Full details of the Local Plan and the consultation are on the council’s web site .

The BCAG response is here: BCAG Barnet Local Plan Response Aug 2021.pdf (PDF 258 Kb, 4 pages).

BCAG does not believe that the Barnet Draft Local Plan goes far enough in tackling climate change. The challenge of reducing carbon emissions of new build – and opportunities to use new build to reduce emissions of nearby existing buildings though the use of heat networks/decentralised energy options – across the borough are not fully addressed in the Local Plan.

While the Barnet Draft Local Plan is stronger on adaptation measures, BCAG believe there is more that needs to be done to protect the borough’s communities and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change.


Local Plan Briefing Note

Barnet Councils new Local Plan sets the Council’s vision for growth and development in Barnet over a 15-year period (2021-2036). It is out for consultation and representations until 9th August 2021.

Update 10 August 2021: see BCAG response to local plan.

Is it important?

Yes! The Development Plan is the basis upon which planning applications in the Borough will be determined. In the next 15 years that means some 60,000 decisions taken by the Council involving the development of new homes, the amount of affordable housing, loss of open space, new businesses, how Barnet will look, its ‘character’, how it tackles Climate Change, biodiversity, wildlife, transport, energy etc will all be affected by it.

This version of the Local Plan is a draft document specifically produced to enable representations to be made on the draft plan that will then be considered by an independent Inspector at the examination stage. Written representations and appearing at the public examination are supposed to carry the same weight.

The draft plan is a technical document but do not let that put you off. If it does not say what you think it should – or says something you think it shouldn’t then make a representation. If you want to change Barnet’s policy at this stage keep in mind that you should have good grounds and sound evidence to back up what you say – just having an opinion won’t wash!

What key areas does it cover?

Pretty much anything and everything to do with the built and natural environment in Barnet. Chapter headings include:

  • Barnet’s Vision and Objectives
  • Growth and Spatial Strategy
  • Housing
  • Character, Design and heritage
  • Town centres
  • Community Uses and promotion of health and well being
  • Economy
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Transport and Communications

How is the plan structured?

The Plan contains:

  • 309 Pages
  • 12 Chapters
  • 3 Appendicies
  • 52 Policies and supporting text
  • 67 Site Specific proposals

What is the key driver behind the plan?

By 2036 Barnet is looking at a projected population increase of over 50,000 up to a total of 452,000. This will need a minimum of 35,460 new homes (2,364 new homes per annum). Barnet’s Plan seeks to enable this growth and deal with the implications of it.

Are Barnet’s parks, open spaces and biodiversity protected?

The policy approach should be strengthened. The important part of the plan – the one in daily use by planners in determining applications and considered by developers is the Policy. In this plan the supporting text often reads stronger than the policy.

[The original document contains copies of eight policies in the appendix which appear to have a significant bearing on open spaces, biodiversity and parks in the borough. These are omitted from the web version]

Areas to consider for representations.

  • Oppose “low value, low quality” provisions in Policy ECC04. We should be protecting and enhancing all open space in the borough not allowing development on it. The ‘evidence’ to justify this policy is out of date, extremely subjective in its judgements and should not be used. Recommend removal of this element of the policy.
  • A Regional Park for Barnet based on the Green Belt. The idea has been around for many years but the there is nothing specific on how and when it will be delivered. The messages given in the plan on this are garbled. Recommend much clearer statement on how this is to be progressed.
  • Hedges get limited mention and Trees are subsumed within generalised policies. Recommend strengthened, separate policy on dealing with Trees and hedgerows.
  • B-lines – No mention of these pollinator highways, promoted by Buglife as part of the Governments pollinator strategy. The north-south corridor through London cuts across parts of the borough including parts of Finchley and New Southgate where there is a growth area and a number of site specific proposals. Recommend add B-lines to Key diagram, proposals map and covered in appropriate policies and site specific proposals.
  • Temporary use of development sites for green space. There is a policy on ‘meanwhile uses’ for temporary housing but not on potential for open space. Recommend new policy supporting temporary use of development sites for open space and community growing projects.
  • Front garden use for car parking. No policy on prevention of turning front gardens into car parking on those roads where planning permission is required. Recommend addition of policy opposing use of front gardens for car parking.
  • Support reasonably strong policies protecting Green Belt and Metropolitan Open land. The likelihood is that these policies will be attacked by developers.
  • Consider whether you should be promoting sites/ideas near to you. Two that I shall be promoting are: Creation of a new park in East Finchley in an area of open space deficiency and designating Barnet owned land adjacent to a local park as an extension to the park.

There are probably a lot more ideas that could and should be raised.

Use the forms provided.

Barnet are using a form for representations based on nationally prescribed ones. Do use them. It makes life easier all round.

Roger Chapman

Chair, Barnet Green Spaces Network

6th July 2021

The appendix of the original document contains the text of the following policies relevant to Open Space. These are omitted from the web version.

  • POLICY BSS01 Spatial Strategy for Barnet
  • POLICY GSS13 Strategic Parks and Recreation
  • Policy CDH07 Amenity Space and Landscaping
  • Policy CHW 02 – Promoting health and wellbeing
  • Policy ECC02A Water Management Policy
  • Policy ECC04 –Barnet’s Parks and Open Spaces
  • Policy ECC05 – Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land
  • Policy ECC06 – Biodiversity
Event Meeting Notice

June 2021 Meeting — Nudging Barnet

Nudging Barnet: Behaviour Change and the Climate Emergency

Our June meeting is on Wednesday 16th June 2021 from 6pm to 7.30pm online.

Please book on Eventbrite at A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants.

Introducing “positive” behaviours in residents and businesses in Barnet to encourage initiatives to reduce climate impacts.

This month’s Barnet Climate Action Group (BCAG) meeting will discuss opportunities in Barnet on measures, information and “nudges” that could be introduced to support “positive” behaviours in residents and businesses in the borough to encourage initiatives to reduce their climate impacts.

The discussion will be led by Dr Simon Moore of behavioural science experts Innovation Bubble.

The UK has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40% since 1990 but this progress has come largely from actions that have not involved consumers changing their behaviour – notably decarbonisation of electricity supply. Over the coming decade there will be a need to shift focus to other more challenging sectors of energy use such as decarbonising transport and heat which will require more more intervention in our lives.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) are also pointing to other areas where public action will be needed such as a reduction in the consumption of all meat and dairy of 50% by 2050 compared to today’s levels, a reduction in flying of 10% compared to pre- COVID levels, and up to one third of all car journeys being replaced by walking, cycling or public transport

The role of individual behaviour change will be important if the UK is to achieve Net Zero and there is now an urgent need to identify and implement solutions for promoting greater engagement and action from citizens and consumers.

You may be interested in reading Prof Nick Chater recent report from the CCC ‘Net Zero after Covid: Behavioural Principles for Building Back Better


One Plastic Bottle Doesn’t Matter Does It?

Notes from Breakout Session 1 – 16th May 2021

Presentation: Waste BCAG May 21.pptx (PowerPoint 800Kb)


A suggestion came from Julia Hines around help setting up a ‘library of things’ in East Finchley, which could be a ‘tool library’. Library of things could be set up at the local, neighbourhood level.

Attendees highlighted a series of existing projects within the community such as: – East Finchley group which works with shops and businesses, encouraging less packaging and refillable bottles of , eg olive oil.

A Zero Waste Market taking place in Barnet on 23rd May:

This led to a wider discussion about the need to share and exchange information on reducing waste, such as more information on how and what to recycle, as well as encouraging people to use local shops which are actively cutting down on packaging, especially zero waste shops.

Several contributors suggested that there needs to be an information exchange about such initiatives and campaigns, including September’s Big Green Week:

People also shared information about TerraCycle, who recycle crisp, sweet and biscuit wrappers:

There was also a recommendation for Olio, a recycling app:

Wendy from Incredible Edible Barnet talked about the value of teaching people to start growing some of their own food – it reduces food miles, reduces packaging, helps people engage with nature and encourages them to value the time and energy it takes to produce what they eat, thereby often influencing them to throw away less.

It also improves our food security. More food should be sourced locally, it is better, fresher and uses less transportation. Returning to theme of educating and informing people – it was suggested that there could be more information on how to start their own compost heaps.

There was a discussion about the need to put pressure on supermarkets, as most people buy the majority of the things they consume from them. Points raised here included:

  • Write them letters. Tell them we want an end to single use plastics, unnecessary wrapping. Why are some products cheaper when wrapped in plastic than alternatives that are sold loose?
  • Ask them to introduce stations which dispense loose items into brought-in reusable containers – as some small shops already do.
  • More recycling points.
  • Get them to agree to reduce waste of such items as bread.
  • Start a campaign, collect signatures to demand the supermarkets make surpluses available to the local community and ask them to place this in community fridges.

There was also a need to put pressure on manufacturers to make items that can have be more durable and be used for longer use, and to penalise them for short life items, such as  washing machines that only work for a few years. Making them pay for the cost of disposal of white goods and electricals was also supported.

The use of and promotion of repair shops was also supported. People highlighted the Restart Project which has taught people how to make their own repairs by running repairing workshops

The group was also supportive of putting pressure on the Council to reintroduce a food waste collection. Alan Schneiderman says there has not been a commitment to bring it back, the council leaders say there has been ‘low take-up’ but a third of residents were using the service when it was scrapped – which itself cost the council money in terms of having to collect and incinerate the additional waste.

People agreed that we need to think about what we buy.

Notes and suggestions from the Jamboard:

Screen with lots of virtual post-it notes. Sorry there is too much text to transcribe.
Click image to see the same image on a page by itself, which may be easier to zoom in to

5 Actions for us:

We need to share information about the need to reduce waste, the existence of local zero waste shops and markets, the impact that changing your diet can have, and the projects that already exist across Barnet that are taking action around reducing waste.

We need to take action ourselves, by setting up community ‘libraries of things’, setting up local projects on food waste and by consuming less stuff.

We need to support our local shops that are setting a good example, by using repair shops and zero waste stores whenever we can.

We need to grow our own by encouraging gardening, composting and growing own fruit vegetables. We also need to set up collective community gardens and allotments.

We need to say no to single use plastics – especially in shops and supermarkets.

3 Actions for others:

Barnet Council needs to take action to support the reduction of waste generated by residents and to increase the ease and rate of recycling through better services and improved information. Barnet Council should reintroduce the collection of food waste as soon as it can.

Manufacturers and producers need to make things that will last longer, are repairable, and take responsibility for the disposal of items when they reach the end of their useful life.

Supermarkets need to drastically reduce the amount of waste they generate and adopt zero waste practices, by ending the use of single use plastics, reducing packaging, introducing refill stations, finding uses for items that need to be thrown away (such as through community fridges).


Barnet’s air quality. Why we should be concerned.

[Update 17 Sep 2021: we have been contacted by Mums For Lungs, and you may like to work with them if you want to campaign about air quality in London.]

From 2016 to 2019 Central London experienced significant improvements in air quality [1]. One consequence was a 97 per cent reduction in the number of inner London schools exceeding legal pollution limits – from 455 in 2016, to just 14 in 2019 – as well as a 94 per cent reduction in the number of these areas exceeding legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). It is also predicted to increase the average life expectancy of a child born in inner London in 2013 by six months [1].

Despite this, the levels of air pollution in London are still far too high and the improvements in air quality in inner London have not happened in many outer boroughs.. An Imperial College study concluded that toxic air had contributed to the deaths of more than 4,000 Londoners in 2019 [1], the boroughs with the largest number of air pollution related deaths in 2019 being Bromley, Barnet, Croydon and Havering [1].

That pollution-related deaths are higher in outer boroughs is partly a reflection of the higher proportion of elderly residents in these boroughs. Older people are generally more vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution. We know that air pollution increases the severity of other health problems, like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure. Other factors are also involved. Londoners exposed to the worst air pollution are more likely to live in deprived areas and to be from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. There is also emerging evidence that links air pollution to an increased vulnerability to the most severe impacts of COVID-19 [2].

The expanded ULEZ may exacerbate the problems Barnet faces when dealing with air pollution.

The success of the existing central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) gives confidence that the expansion of the ULEZ on 26 October 2021 [2] and tighter standards for heavy vehicles across the entire city will deliver wider benefits. It is predicted that this will save the NHS around £5 billion and prevent more than one million hospital admissions over the next 30 years [1]. Barnet Council has produced detailed information as to the parts of the borough most affected by air pollution, as part of its plan detailing actions it aims to deliver between 2017 and 2022 in order to improve local air quality in the borough [3].

The boundary of the new, expanded ULEZ will be at (but not including) the A406 North Circular [2]. Unfortunately as much of Barnet lies outside of this new ULEZ, this ULEZ expansion is unlikely to lead to an overall improvement of air quality in the borough. Instead it may lead to many residential streets near the A406 in Barnet becoming more congested and polluted, as drivers try to avoid the charge. There are also the highly polluted trunk roads north of the A406 such as A1, M1, A41, A5 and A1000 that are not in the new ULEZ and will not therefore see reductions in vehicle pollution.

BCAG would like to see a prioritisation of Barnet Council’s stated objective [3] of exploring the option of increasing the ULEZ to cover the whole of Barnet. This could potentially have the most significant impact on improving air quality in the borough. GLA evidence for ULEZ expansion predicts a 31% reduction in NOx emissions in Barnet by 2025 if all of Barnet were to be in a ULEZ, but only an 8% decrease with just the area south of the A406 is in the new, expanded ULEZ [3].

Furthermore, while expanding ULEZ will help reduce NO2 levels in London (the latter mainly due to diesel exhaust), we will still be faced with the problem of breathing in unacceptable levels of PM2.5 particulates (ninety-nine per cent of London does not meet WHO recommended limits for PM2.5 – the particles most dangerous for health). Expanding our low traffic neighbourhoods might not always partially solve this PM2.5 problem, since they can lead to traffic being diverted from more affluent “leafy” roads to busier, potentially less affluent areas. The latest Imperial College study of pollution levels in the Marylebone Road during lockdown has found that particulate pollution from tyres and brakes has not declined with the reduced volume of traffic, since this traffic is now moving faster.

The prospect for real-time monitoring of the pollution in Barnet.

BCAG would like to see the participation of Barnet in the London Air Quality Network [4] and – in the very near future – Barnet included in the Breathe London real time monitoring of pollution [5].

Barnet Council is currently monitoring pollution at two sites and has produced a detailed pollution map of the borough [3]. However this map is based on single measurements at several individual sites, whereas the pollution levels at all of these sites will vary considerably over time with changes in traffic levels, weather conditions etc. What is needed is up-to-date information provided by continuous monitoring of pollution throughout the day (“real-time” monitoring) – readily accessible to everyone through the CityAir app. Breathe London is currently placing the sensors for such pollution monitoring at 300 sites across London [5]. In addition it will be providing each London borough at least one sensor, the borough then being able to chose the location of this sensor in conjunction with local communities [5]. Furthermore, in addition to these Breathe London sponsored sensors, boroughs and other organisations will be able to ‘buy in’ extra sensors to the network at a greatly reduced cost [5]. With the launch of this programme, there is no reason that a network of sensors cannot now supply online localized air pollution data in real-time for those sites in Barnet where residents are most exposed to pollution. Residents will then be able to use the CityAir app to minimise pollutant harm to themselves and their children, Policymakers can also identify problem areas and take steps to protect those who are most at risk, including school children and the residents of lower-income neighbourhoods. The technology is now available. BCAG believes it should be introduced with high priority.

BCAG would also like to see the right air quality standards – legally binding WHO recommended limits on pollutants – to be achieved by 2030, adopted in the Government’s new, but at present underwhelming, Environment Bill. This will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our cities and economies to be greener, fairer, and more sustainable. However under the Government’s current plans, air pollution in the UK is expected to remain at dangerous levels for at least another 10 years [6]. The estimated cost to health and social care services is upwards of a staggering £2 billion [7], as a result of its impact on heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and childhood asthma.

Improving air quality is key for our children’s future.

Children are one of the worst affected groups when it comes to air pollution. According to Unicef UK, children are growing up breathing hazardous levels of toxic air across 86% the UK. It stunts their lung development and increases risk of asthma and pneumonia. Furthermore children breathing toxic air are four times more likely to have reduced lung function in adulthood. All policymakers should take necessary action to protect children especially from road transport emissions. A recent study found that children are most exposed travelling to school, not in the classroom [8].

The latest Breathe London dataset of nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution at 1,795 primary schools across the city [9] attributes 45% of the pollution in Barnet to road traffic. The 10 schools in Barnet most affected by poor air quality are:

  1. Wentworth Tutorial College
  2. Wessex Gardens Primary
  3. Golders Hill
  4. Mapledown
  5. Colindale Primary
  6. St Josephs Catholic Primary
  7. Beis Medrash Elyon
  8. All Saints CofE Primary NW2
  9. Barnet Hill Academy
  10. Nancy Reuben Primary







[6] Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Clean Air Strategy

[7] Public Health England: Estimation of costs to the NHS and social care due to the health impacts of air pollution,




Event Meeting Notice

May 2021 Meeting — Barnet Climate Plan Workshop

Update 24 May: reports and slides are gradually being assembled on the Barnet Climate Plan page.

Barnet Climate Action Group will be hosting an online workshop from 2pm to 5pm on the afternoon of Sunday 16 May 2021 to discuss citizen, business and council climate action needed in the London Borough of Barnet to respond to the Climate Emergency.

The current plan is to have an introductory session all together followed by two breakout sessions and a final plenary.

In the first breakout session, we will break up into two groups to discuss in parallel:

  • Buildings
    • Retrofitting existing buildings
    • Domestic and non-domestic buildings
    • Energy efficiency
    • Renewable heat and renewable power
  • Waste and Consumption
    • Waste reduction, food waste and recycling
    • Plastics
    • Circular economy
    • Spending in a climate friendly way
    • Food: meat, dairy, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian

You may join whichever group you wish.

In the second session we will discuss, again in parallel:

  • Transport
    • Reducing car use and switching to electric vehicles
    • Public transport
    • Walking and cycling
    • Deliveries
  • Nature
    • Green spaces
    • Trees
    • Rewilding
    • Biodiversity
    • Flood prevention using nature

If there is something not mentioned that we ought to cover, let us know and we will add it to one of these lists. When it is not obvious, topics will be assigned to these in an arbitrary way. For example industrial emissions will be discussed under Buildings, as a lot of industry in the borough consists of offices.

We have allocated quite a long time so everyone gets a chance to have their say. If you can’t spare that much time, feel free to attend just part of the workshop.

We are hoping to assemble some suggested background reading here. As a start:

Please book via the Eventbrite page at . The Zoom link will be sent to those people who have registered. There are also more details of the timetable on that page.


April 2021 Meeting — Planning for a Barnet Climate Plan

Ahead of Barnet Climate Action Group’s forthcoming workshop (Sunday 16 May), this month’s BCAG meeting will be a planning event for the workshop, asking attendees for their thoughts on the key issues for the borough that need to be examined to input into a future Barnet Climate Plan.

We would really value your thoughts on how we can get the best out of our May workshop – so look forward to seeing you on Thursday 22 April 2021 at 6.30pm.

The Zoom link for the 22nd April meeting has been sent round to the mailing list. If you are new and would like to join the mailing list, please send an email to the webmaster at the address at the end of the page — sorry it’s an image to reduce spam.

Event Meeting

March 2021 Meeting — Net Zero Finchley: A Thought Experiment

Thursday, March 18, 2021
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM online

Please register on Eventbrite at

It is estimated 80% of buildings in our cities today will still be here in 2050. How could one part of LB Barnet – Finchley – go Net Zero?

The Government has set a Net Zero CO2 emissions target for 2050. Retrofitting UK’s 27 million homes and millions of non-domestic buildings remains one of the biggest challenges to achieve Net Zero. It is estimated that 80% of the buildings in our cities today that still be here in 2050, therefore efforts to reduce emissions must primarily focus on existing stock. But how can this such wide scale retrofit be undertaken? How much of an inconvenience will it prove to be to households? What technologies do we need to deploy to decarbonise? What buildings should be tackled first? What are the cost implications?

Taking one part of Barnet as a ‘thought experiment’ – around the main high streets of Finchley – what would be required to retrofit buildings in this area such that they would be fit for a Net Zero future? Please come along and contribute your thoughts!

This event will be held online: please register on Eventbrite using the link above.

Event Meeting Notice

January 2021 Meeting — 2021: Climate Talks – Local Actions

Tuesday, January 12, 2021
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM online

Please register on Eventbrite at

Despite the pandemic, climate and energy headlines dominate the news. We look at the pathway to COP26 and the role of local actors.

In November 2021 the UK will host the international climate negotiations for the first time. The UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 26 will be held in Glasgow from November 1-12. Details of the event are set out on the official conference webpage at

Leading up to the COP, the Government will be making some significant decisions on the future of energy policy in the UK. Recent weeks have seen the publication of the Energy White Paper and the Committee on Climate Change’s advice to Government on the Sixth Carbon Budget (which covers the years 2033 – 2037). The coming year will see a number of new strategies published which will impact on the way we live our lives. From heating our homes (Heat and Buildings Strategy), to the way we travel (a Transport Decarbonisation Plan), to our green spaces (a Trees Strategy) and even what we eat (a National Food Strategy).

BCAG’s January 2021 meeting will highlight some of the key discussions and decisions leading to the COP event, and importantly, how new policy outputs from Government will work their way into local decision-making – into our homes and neighbourhoods – and what opportunities we have to influence these decisions.

We are delighted to have as a guest speaker for this event Kirsty Hamilton. Kirsty has three decades of international experience in tackling and leading efforts on climate change and accelerating the energy transition and has been an Observer in the UNFCCC process since the early 1990s. She is currently seconded in to advise the COP26 Energy Transition team on private investment and ‘investment confidence’ for governments.

Since returning to the UK in early 2000s she has focused on bridging between leading energy finance practitioners and senior policy counterparts on clean energy outcomes originally setting up an initiative through an affiliation with Chatham House in 2004. She went on to establish the Low Carbon Finance Group (2010-2015), founded by senior financiers, heading its factual policy engagement throughout the electricity market reform process. Advisory work has included Specialist Advisor to a UK Parliamentary Inquiry into Financing Energy Infrastructure and a senior policy advisor to a leading energy storage investor. Kirsty’s ‘Finance Guide for Policymakers’ BNEF, Chatham House, UNEP-FS can be downloaded here.

Zoom link: to be provided via registration.

This event will be held online: please register on Eventbrite using the link above.