Interviews News

Greens see LTNs as part of climate solution

In the fourth of five interviews with local party leaders ahead of the election on 5th May, Green candidate David Farbey talks up local traffic-cutting measures
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

David Farbey, the Green Party candidate for Brunswick Park (credit Barnet Green Party)
David Farbey, the Green Party candidate for Brunswick Park (credit Barnet Green Party)

The Green Party wants to declare a climate emergency and roll out more active travel schemes in Barnet, with low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) “part of the solution” to the climate crisis.

The Greens are standing candidates in all of the borough’s wards as they aim to win their first-ever seats on Barnet Council in the local election on 5th May.

David Farbey, a candidate for the Brunswick Park ward, said the Greens were “very concerned” that Barnet had recently scored zero on a set of scorecards drawn up to gauge councils’ readiness to tackle climate change.

He added: “Barnet Council is one of the few councils in London that has not produced a climate emergency declaration. The point of having such a declaration is that it focuses everyone’s minds on what they must do first in order to tackle the climate crisis that is coming to Barnet.”

David claimed the ruling Barnet Conservatives were “very frightened of saying anything that might cause ordinary voters to have a think about their situation”.

Describing the Green Party as about “environmental justice and social justice in equal measure”, he said the council should ensure budgets are managed in a way “to make sure the services the council is due to provide are ready”.

He accused Labour and the Conservatives of making “foolish promises” to keep council tax low or not to increase it by the maximum possible amount, as “the money has to come from somewhere” to provide services.

David said LTNs were “part of the solution” to get people to use more public transport, cycling and walking, although he conceded that some car journeys were “unavoidable”.

Addressing criticism that has been levelled at LTNs in neighbouring Enfield, he said he thought the borough had introduced the schemes “too quickly”, and there would be more “meaningful consultation” on the schemes under the Green Party.

There would also be more cycle lanes, he added, again accompanied by proper consultation and consideration of their impact on traffic. “We can’t have our transport policies 100% dominated by cars,” he said. “We’ve got to think about everybody.”

David said developments would not be approved by a Green council “unless they included the correct amount of affordable housing and provision for social housing”. He also said those in the private rental sector should be protected as much as homeowners.

Describing the outsourcing of council services as “a costly mistake over many years”, David said the Green Party would bring all of them back in house to ensure they were “accountable to the public”.

Encouraging people to vote Green, David said having even one or two Green Party councillors makes a “huge difference” because it ensures the right questions are asked and that policies are scrutinised.

He added: “People, even in a minority, can lead policies, and where the Green Party is in charge of the council, dramatic changes can happen.”

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