Barnet Council has scored zero marks in a project to rate plans by local authorities to tackle climate change.

Climate Emergency UK (CEUK) gave the council the lowest score possible because it had not published a "valid plan" to tackle the climate emergency before a key deadline for its ratings project.

The campaign group used 28 questions to assess UK councils’ climate action plans, with criteria including whether climate actions are costed, if the actions are assigned to specific teams, and whether the actions have clear goals.

Barnet was one of only five London boroughs to score zero, as it did not have an up-to-date climate action plan published before September 20 2021.

The council, which has been criticised over its failure to declare a climate emergency, recently set a 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".

These goals were set out in a framework for the council’s sustainability strategy, which was presented to the environment committee in December.

Plans drawn up by the town hall to cut carbon emissions include retrofitting council homes to improve their energy efficiency, creating a network of electric vehicle charging points and implementing more active travel improvements such as cycle schemes.

Council leader Dan Thomas said: "The council’s bold sustainability framework has been unanimously approved by council and will lead into a strategy that will see Barnet becoming a leading local authority in the area of sustainability.

"I have committed to making this a net-zero council by 2030, and our strategy will enable us to meet, and to exceed, our current targets and those set by the government, to build a sustainable borough fit for the future.

"We believed that it was best to produce a full strategy once the outcomes of COP26 and the Environment Act could be incorporated. However, this strategy does not mark the beginning of our work in building a sustainable borough – this is something that we have been doing as a council, with our residents and businesses, for many years.

"There is a lot of work to do, but building on our many successes and our status as one of London’s greenest boroughs, this framework puts us in a great position to be a sustainability leader in the years to come."

Next year, CEUK will rate councils on the actions they are taking to reduce emissions and improve biodiversity.

Isaac Beevor, from CEUK, said: "Local authorities can help to deliver 30 per cent of the cuts in carbon emissions needed to get to net zero, according to the sixth UK Carbon Budget published a year ago, so it is vital that councils do as much as they can.

"This year’s scorecards are just the start of the process. It has been an important exercise to understand what makes a good council climate action plan, and we hope that it will help councils learn from each other and up their game. A good plan will help a local authority deliver effective actions, as well as enabling local residents to know what their council has committed to and so hold the council to account.

"While we understand that councils need much more support and funding from national government and have been stretched by responding to the pandemic, the fact that some councils have developed well thought-out, costed and ambitious plans shows that it is possible."