BARNSLEY students were in Westminster recently as part of their involvement in a Parliamentary inquiry into electric vehicles.

Four Barnsley College students visited the Houses of Parliament to conclude their involvement in the House of Lords Environment Select Committee’s Electric vehicles inquiry youth programme

The college was one of only six schools and colleges in the country to be accepted onto the programme, launched in August 2023 to understand how the UK Government will achieve its target of decarbonising cars and vans in the UK, and the barriers to doing so.

The students – Grace Clarke, Cassidy Murtagh, Robin Harris and Joseph McHale – alongside Sustainability Officer Sasha Beswick and Learner Voice Advisor Sasha Foyster, were welcomed on a tour of the Houses of Parliament. They engaged further with the inquiry and participated in a Q&A session with Lords and Baronesses from the Environment and Change Committee.

Grace Clarke said: “Visiting Parliament and taking part in the activities within the Environment and Climate Change Committee has been an insightful opportunity which has increased my understanding around the process of constructing an inquiry and implementing policies which can have an effect on the future of sustainability.

“Visiting on Earth Day further emphasised the significance of the programme and having the opportunity to reflect on the committee’s report and the wider programme.”

Cassidy Murtagh said: “The programme has been an amazing opportunity to engage in discussions on such important political issues with my peers but also peers in the House of Lords and have them respond to our thoughts and suggestions.

“I have been able to learn a lot about the political process regarding such issues and have learnt more about the climate crisis and potential solutions the UK can implement that can potentially set a precedent for the rest of the world.”

Robin Harris added: “The tour was wonderfully insightful and gave me a sense into just how rich in history and important the Houses are. Following the tour, I was very glad to see Baroness Parminter again, who led our tasks for the day. We separated into groups where we discussed topics to discuss for an inquiry.

“Overall, we had a fantastic day, and the opportunity to work on the project was an amazing experience I am very grateful to have taken part of.”

Joseph McHale said: “The Houses of Parliament trip and committee tasks were great. It was lovely having a tour around to get to know the place to have context of how the work we’ve done fits into the wider picture, as well as having that direct face-to-face contact with the committee who asked for our opinions and put our work into practice in the form of the report.

“The rich history of Westminster and its surroundings, as well as learning about the procedure, was fascinating and I loved every bit of it.”