Plans to slash the borough’s carbon emissions from transport, buildings and other sources have been unveiled by Barnet Council.

The town hall has set an “ambitious” target to reach net zero emissions as an organisation by 2030 and for the borough as a whole to do so “as soon as possible after this and in advance of the Government’s 2050 target”.

It will be outlined in the borough’s sustainability strategy, which the council says will provide “tangible improvements for residents and businesses, such as cleaner air, reducing the reliance on petrol and diesel vehicles and […] reducing energy consumption”.

A framework for the sustainability strategy was presented to the policy and resources committee on Thursday. Council leader Cllr Dan Thomas welcomed the report and said the town hall had “set some very ambitious targets”.

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Plans to cut emissions from buildings include retrofitting the borough’s social housing stock to improve energy efficiency and ensuring new-build developments are ‘net zero’ by 2030.

On transport, the council will install more electric car charging points, roll out schemes to reduce traffic around schools and implement “active travel improvements” – including more cycle schemes.

To boost renewable energy, the town hall plans to fit solar panels to council buildings and use district heating networks to supply low-carbon heat to homes.

The council has previously faced criticism over its stance on climate change. It is one of a handful of London boroughs not to have declared a climate emergency, despite coming under sustained pressure from opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors to do so.

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During Thursday’s meeting, some councillors remained sceptical of the plans. Labour’s Cllr Ross Houston said it was good to see the strategy but warned Barnet was still “on the back foot” compared to other boroughs and called for the council’s vehicle fleet to be replaced with sustainable alternatives more quickly.

His Labour colleague Cllr Geof Cooke claimed “climate change denial” in the Conservative group had left the borough “playing catch-up”. He said he did not see anything in the report that “would commit the necessary funding and personnel to do what is necessary” after the council elections take place in May next year.

But Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg hailed the document as “an absolutely revolutionary decision for this borough – if taken seriously”. He said: “I very much hope that we can take this as a starting point of a transformation of what we do.”

Cllr Rozenberg called for “deep consultation” with residents, “clear, specific timeframes for delivery” and an “annual review” of the strategy.

Responding to the opposition comments, Cllr Thomas said he agreed the strategy was “revolutionary” but also “realistic”.

He said: “We want to set ourselves achievable, realistic targets, because if the targets are too pie-in-the sky, then you can start to lose morale because you are not hitting them.”

The leader added that he felt the people of Barnet wanted “realistic targets that are not going to suddenly increase their council tax”.

Members of the committee voted unanimously to approve the sustainability strategy framework. The council will carry out public engagement with residents to allow them to shape the development of the strategy in the new year. A public consultation will then be held in the spring, before the strategy is adopted by the council.