After many years of discussion, consultation and negotiation, in June 2019, the London Borough of Barnet granted The Darlands Conservation Trust a 99 year lease on the Darlands Nature Reserve. The Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) established by members of our local community to conserve, protect and improve Darlands Nature Reserve. This was a major step towards protecting this wonderful area for wildlife and for the community for generations to come. But this was just the start.
Habitat management work is already underway. Over the winter months volunteers have been busy clearing areas of scrub in the north field. This is the first stage of re-establishing areas of grassland and re-opening forgotten tracks and paths. This was greatly assisted by a generous donation from Moat End Farm of a tractor and driver for a day, enabling the clearance of a much greater area. Unfortunately the lockdown has halted workdays until further notice.
It is hoped that despite the lockdown the annual treatment of Giant Hogweed will still be able to go ahead as planned this summer. Giant Hogweed is an invasive, non-native species that has become established at Darlands over many years. It grows up to three metres tall with large white flower heads each producing thousands of seeds. It out-competes native plants and negatively impacts biodiversity.
It is also hazardous to health as its sap can cause severe blistering and burns when it comes into contact with skin exposed to sunlight. It is expected to take up to ten years of annual treatment to completely eradicate this species.
Tree surgeons have carried out works on trees around the reserve that have fallen onto paths or pose a threat to safety. Wherever possible dead wood is retained in situ as it provides sustenance, nutrients and shelter for numerous species of woodland animals, plants and fungi.
Willows and alder trees along one side of the lake have also been coppiced. This will allow more sunlight into the woodland and the lake margins. Coppicing is a traditional form of woodland management where the stems are cut close to the ground. This is beneficial to the trees which will regrow more vigorously and will encourage flowers and insect activity, benefiting birds, bats, and other wildlife. The cut timber will be stored and used for fencing and paths around the reserve.
For many the lake is the highlight of a visit to the nature reserve and it is of primary importance to the reserves value to wildlife. It also poses the Trust’s biggest challenge. Silt has accumulated in the lake over the decades, reducing the area of open water by almost half. Once over 2 metres deep, the lake is now less than 20 centimetres and has completely dried up during prolonged periods without rain. Addressing this by removing much of the silt will require a major engineering project estimated to cost in excess of £300,000. Darlands Conservation Trust receive no government or local authority funding. Lockdown has forced the cancellation of all of our planned fundraising events.So now more than ever your donations are vital to securing the future of Darlands
For more information about Darlands Nature Reserve, the Darlands Conservation Trust or to make a donation or regular gift please visit our website: darlandsconservationtrust.org.uk.
Totteridge Neighbourhood Policing Team would like to thank the Totteridge Residents’ Association for putting us in this year’s book. Your dedicated ward officers are working hard to reduce crime and provide a safer neighbourhood.
Your dedicated ward officers are working hard to reduce crime and provide a safer neighbourhood.
The Dedicated Ward Officers are Police Constable Paul Davies, Police Constable Majid Younus, and Community Support Officer David Morrow. The team sergeant for the ward, is Sergeant Tony Toporowskyj.
In the year April 2019 to March 2020, the total crimes on the ward increased by 9.09%. Antisocial behaviour has gone down by 8%. Over this last year the team have been out and about amongst the community at various locations and events.
At this moment in time and in addition to their core role the team are out offering reassurance to the community and ensuring the public remain safe in these unprecedented times. All be safe and stay safe.
Please sign up to Owl which is an on-line neighbourhood watch site (www.Owl.co.uk/met). When registered you can also get discount codes for home security products such as CCTV, Alarms, Door entry devices etc. There are many ways of contacting Totteridge Neighbourhood Police Team (NPT)
In May 2018 I was elected Deputy Mayor for the London Borough of Barnet, a long two years ago! The year was filled with such interesting events and special occasions. Generally, in Barnet you take a few years off before considering becoming the Mayor, but I was very honoured to be elected the 55th Mayor on the 21st May 2019. I feel very proud that I not only represent Barnet, but also Totteridge. I was born at Victoria Maternity Hospital, went to St. Andrew’s School together with my future husband and love the area so much that I have never moved away!
The day after the “Mayor Making” I hit the ground running with a full week of engagements. I think the first visit encapsulates what the mayoralty is all about. This visit was to Mapledown School, which is an exceptional institution filled with an inspiring group of teachers, support staff and parents. I was accompanied by my husband Richard, who has supported me continuously over the two years, and that has meant a huge amount to me. We were driven in a hybrid Volvo and greeted outside by a smiling headmaster who explained what was going to happen during the visit. The school caters for children with very serious needs, but being shown round it melted my heart to see what can be achieved when a group of caring people come together and have a passion for what they believe in. During the tour we were introduced to the children and many of the staff. I had been asked to make a speech, which I always spend time thinking about and researching if I am given prior notice! However, I always find out about each event prior to attending, as I take this part of the job very seriously. This pays off when I am asked to “just say a few words!”
I am very aware that the position of the First Citizen of the Borough is not about me, but about “The Mayor” coming along to a function and somehow sprinkling some fairy dust on the occasion. Whether it is at a 105th birthday celebration in a care home, opening a new leisure centre, giving out prizes at a school, or leading the brave AJEX soldiers from Horse Guards Parade to the Cenotaph.
From the beginning of March a cloud descended on the world. We had just managed to wave goodbye to a Cypriot Delegation from Morphou, one of Barnet’s nine twin towns, when COVID19 struck. My duties since then have totally changed. I have produced a number of videos with targeted messages, attend virtual events and have helped out making meals for vulnerable people. The Finale Mayor’s Gala dinner in aid of my two chosen charities, Cherry Lodge Cancer Care and Home-Start Barnet, also became a virtual event. With the support of friends, colleagues and sheer determination we have raised (to date) nearly £57,000. Both charities are currently in much need of this financial help. The Mayoral year has now been extended until September and I hope to carry out whatever is asked of me, as I feel very privileged to have been elected to this wonderful role.
It is great to have the opportunity to provide an article for the Totteridge Residents’ Association virtual Yearbook.
I want first to pass on my heartfelt sympathies to any of you who have experienced illness or bereavement due to Covid-19.
I want to express my deep gratitude to all NHS and social care workers. They have done a heroic job in battling the virus. We have also seen an incredible collective effort by the general public. As a result of their hard work and sacrifice, many lives have been saved.
To try to mitigate the economic damage caused by the Covid shutdown the Government is providing a massive package of help to protect jobs, wages, and businesses. There has been nothing on this scale in our peacetime history and it has been providing crucial support for thousands of people in Barnet.
At an early stage in the crisis I made the case in Parliament for help for self-employed people and I welcomed the programme subsequently announced for these workers which is one of the most generous in the world.
I also made the point strongly in Parliament that these support programmes must actually get the money out to the people who need it. I have been working to help constituents try to get the help they need.
Turning to non-Covid issues, the 12 months since my last article for the TRA Yearbook has seen some dramatic events in my life as your local MP.
When the Prime Minister called the general election for 12th December last year, a number of pollsters and commentators speculated that I would not be able to defend the constituency with only a slim majority for 353 from the 2017 poll.
But after a gruelling six week campaign, carried out in the depths of winter in the dark and rain, I was absolutely delighted when the folk of Chipping Barnet decided to re-elect me to Westminster to serve as their MP for the fifth time. I feel deeply honoured to represent this place which I love and which is my home.
Just a few months before that election, the political wheel of fortune had turned suddenly in my favour when Boris invited me to join his new Government as the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
I was honoured to accept this opportunity to serve for a second time in high political office. It has been an incredible privilege for me to be asked to join the Cabinet by two Prime Ministers, first David Cameron, and then Boris Johnson.
Although my Cabinet come-back was relatively short-lived, I believe I can look back on a record of achievement as Environment Secretary. Under my leadership, the Government put forward radical new legislation on fisheries, farming and the environment.
Leaving the deeply flawed Common Agricultural Policy will allow us to implement a fresh approach to help our farmers deliver crucial environmental and animal welfare goals. Our new system of farm support to replace the CAP is one of the most important environmental reforms for decades.
This Government was elected on a manifesto with more far reaching commitments on the environment than any ever before in history. The world-leading Environment Bill I put forward to Parliament will embed environmental targets and principles at the heart of Government decision-making. That will help us clean up the air we breathe, protect nature and biodiversity, and tackle the scourge of plastics pollution and waste.
£3.5b has been committed to tackling harmful emissions from transport because there are too many people whose lives are shortened by air pollution, including in Barnet.
And after spending so many weeks cooped up indoors, I think we perhaps all appreciate even more than we did before the importance of spending time in natural spaces.
During my spell at DEFRA, I secured a commitment from the Government to a massive increase in tree planting. The election last year must have been the first one where there was a bidding war between the parties on tree planting!
And we will not stand by and let the tragedy of plastics pollution in our oceans continue. Working with overseas territories, we are on track to protect over 4 million square kilometres of the world’s oceans by the end of this year. No other nation is doing more to address what is a defining issue of our time.
We want this to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it. And during the shutdown, I was incredibly grateful that I had wonderful natural open spaces on my doorstep. These fields and woods and pathways would long ago have been bulldozed to make way for housing development, were it not for green belt protection rules.
So taking my daily exercise in places like Totteridge Fields, Darlands, Barnet Gate Wood, and Moat Mount have made me more determined than ever to protect our green spaces in Barnet, like the fields at Whalebones which are under imminent threat from developers.
And I continue to campaign robustly against over-development. It feels as if I am fighting on many fronts on this issue. The Mayor of London’s plan to build blocks of flats over tube station car parks is particularly appalling but the latest proposals for the gasworks site in New Barnet are also unacceptable.
I accept we need new homes but building high density, high rise development in low-rise suburban Barnet will put intolerable pressure on infrastructure and public services and severely damage our local environment. It will always be my mission to protect the open, airy, leafy nature of our suburb from predation by developers.
Finally, I want to assure TRA members that despite the Covid emergency, my determination to pursue the local causes they support is as strong as ever. So I continue to back our excellent local schools; to fight for our fair share of the 20,000 new police officers now being recruited; to get the best NHS services for our community; to hold the Mayor to account on tube and bus services; and to campaign to help our struggling high streets. Sadly, the Covid outbreak will have an impact for many months and years to come and I will always speak up strongly on behalf of my constituents as we slowly recover from this crisis.
Life for Barnet’s residents has changed beyond all recognition, however, Barnet Council is working hard to maintain a semblance of normality. Our beautiful parks and open spaces have remained open, providing much needed respite from home confinement. Weekly bin collections continue and the recycling centre at Summers Lane is open by appointment, you can book your slot on the council’s website.
The council quickly built an online payment system to ensure Barnet’s businesses received Government help. So far, £47million has been distributed to 3,000 eligible businesses.
Our most vulnerable residents, the shielded, have been contacted to check they are safe and well. Over 3,000 deliveries of food and essentials were delivered to those who needed them.
The council has stepped up to the challenge and so have our communities. Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, charities, residents associations and neighbours have all been working hard to look after those in need.
I give my sincerest thanks to those who have volunteered, to our frontline workers and carers and to residents who followed the Government’s advice to stay at home. As the lockdown eases, we must stay alert and continue to look out for those less fortunate.
Phase One to Begin on 29th May 2018. St Andrew’s Church, an icon of Totteridge, is beginning the first phase of its improvement programme. Work begins on 29th May to the car park and grounds. Donations are still needed for the next 3 phases which include the church, parish hall and updating the technology throughout the building.