Councillors have agreed to set up a citizens’ assembly to help slash carbon emissions generated by Barnet Council and the wider borough.

The citizens’ assembly on climate change and biodiversity will allow residents to contribute to the council’s plan to make its own operations carbon neutral by 2030 and for the wider borough to reach net zero by 2042.

It comes after new council leader Cllr Barry Rawlings formally declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in Barnet last month.

Plans for the citizens’ assembly were presented in a report to the council’s environment and climate change committee on Thursday. The proposals also included the creation of a sustainability team and an assistant director for sustainability.

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Committee chair Cllr Alan Schneiderman told the meeting the citizens’ assembly would be “really important" to get real engagement with the community. The council hopes to develop a sustainability strategy and climate action plan that goes engages businesses, residents and other groups.

But Conservative members called for more information on the proposals. Cllr David Longstaff asked for more detail on the costs to the council and how often the assembly would meet.

Cllr Schneiderman said £50,000 had been set aside in the alternative budget drawn up when the Labour group was in opposition, but the cost would depend on “exactly how the assembly was organised”.

He added: “It is the detail that needs to be worked out, and all of that will come to the next meeting.”

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Cllr Laithe Jajeh, another Conservative member, said his group was not opposed to residents becoming more involved with the council’s decisions, but asked how the committee could benchmark the success of the assembly.

Stephen McDonald, the council’s director of growth, said there would be “specific targets” in the sustainability strategy that would allow for benchmarking.

Conservative Cllr Rohit Grover said the committee was being asked to allow the committee chair and the council’s deputy chief executive to establish the assembly with “no further involvement of the committee”.

He added: “This committee should have a role in understanding what the cost of these proposals will be”.

Cllr Grover proposed an amendment to the report’s recommendations calling for the details to come back to the committee for approval.

But Cllr Schneiderman said: “We don’t want to hold up the citizens’ assembly by making sure we can’t get started until all the details have come back to this committee.”

Labour’s Cllr Geof Cooke said he was “struggling to understand” what the Conservatives wanted, adding that a full update would come back to the environment committee and that the council’s policy and resources committee would handle the budgetary implications.

Labour committee members voted down Cllr Grover’s amendment. They then voted in favour of the report’s recommendations, including the creation of the assembly and the new assistant director post, while the Conservatives abstained.