Councillors will weigh up the environmental impact of their policies when making big decisions about how the borough is run.

They have agreed to consider a report by environmental group Friends of the Earth on the borough’s climate friendliness at each committee and look into what more can be done to cut carbon emissions.

The report says Barnet’s performance on climate change is “average” compared to other local authorities and needs to improve in several key areas.

Members of the Conservative administration backed Cllr Jo Cooper’s motion to consider the report at a full council meeting on Wednesday (October 29).

But the Tories voted down several more ambitious proposals tabled by Labour councillors, including setting a target to ensure 80 per cent of people in Barnet commute by public transport, cycling and walking by 2030.

It followed a debate about how much Barnet residents need to change their lifestyles to cut their impact on the environment.

Cllr Helene Richman (Conservative), West Hendon, said there was “no greater priority for Barnet’s Conservative Party than positive action to address climate change”.

Cllr Richman pointed out that the council was already planting thousands of trees, installing electric charging points and upgrading to energy-efficient LED streetlights.

But she said the council could not go along with the proposals tabled by Labour councillors in amendments to Cllr Cooper’s motion, as they risked “hurting the people of Barnet”.

Cllr Richman said: “They will cost extra money to comply with and tie the council and residents in ‘nanny-state’ red tape which interferes with the very fabric of people’s private lives.

“[Residents] may be forced to purchase things they do not want to buy, or taxes will go up if the Government has to fund these purchases, or they force residents to make lifestyle changes that may be too difficult, especially for the elderly, and should be a matter of choice in a free society.”

Cllr Ross Houston (Labour), West Finchley, said combatting climate change meant people would have to make some lifestyle changes.

He added that there were several Government grant schemes available to provide funding for local initiatives to cut carbon emissions and claimed other boroughs were doing more than Barnet.

Cllr Houston said: “Our amendments are all sensible, practical and necessary. We must seize these opportunities.

“There is a climate emergency. We must and can make changes in our lifestyle and in a way in which we live and work in our society – otherwise we are facing a climate crisis.

“If we don’t change our lifestyles, our children will suffer and our planet will suffer.”

The report by Friends of the Earth says measures Barnet needs to take include increasing home insulation and recycling 70 per cent of household waste by 2025.

It can be viewed by entering your postcode at the following link: