With local elections now under a month away, the Green Party has launched its campaign aiming to radically boost the number of Green councillors around the UK.
Co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley launched the campaign today (9 April) in Altrincham, Trafford, a key target area for the Green Party, ahead of the local elections on 2 May.
At the launch, the party pledged to bring decisions about land use into the hands of local people, with a promise to extend Scotland’s Community Right to Buy policy into England and Wales, and to introduce Compulsory Sale Orders, which would enable local authorities to require that land left vacant or derelict for longer than a certain period of time should be sold at auction. This would enable local groups to purchase land when it comes up for sale, helping to “bring land back into use where it is being neglected and hoarded by people who are hanging on for profits,” Berry said.
“Across the country local Green councillors are empowering local communities, like here in Altrincham where Greens and the community saved children’s playing fields from being turned into unaffordable housing.
“The Green Party believes local decisions should always be made by the communities who know their needs best, and that communities should get first say on how local land is used. That’s why today we promise to give communities the right to buy any land up for sale, as well as the power to force landowners to sell neglected brownfield land.”
Ahead of the launch, Michael Welton, Green Party candidate for Altrincham, commented: “Local action to protect our green spaces is at the core of Green Party values. Our councillors will always support groups like the one here at Cow Field. We are fighting to save a place where people of all ages come together to play games, walk the dog or just take time out to relax in nature.
“Green space brings communities closer together and we will work to ensure that the community in Altrincham can have their say on how local land is used.”
Local elections campaign launched! 👏— The Green Party (@TheGreenParty) 9 April 2019
We’ve never seen Greens this ready to win and take us one step closer to having a Green on every council.
But we need YOUR help to get there! Can you chip in to our crowdfunder & support our #LE2019 campaign? 👇https://t.co/AxOimpy67V pic.twitter.com/xVu5I1kBdW
The local elections in 2018 saw a record-breaking number of Greens elected across England and Wales, with the Green Party becoming the official opposition in Lambeth as five Greens were elected to the council. There are now 178 Green councillors across 68 different local authorities – and the party is hoping to further increase its reach this year.
More and more people are seeing that Green councillors work in and with communities to win the change they need.
Positive results have already been achieved in by-elections this year, with Aylesbury Vale seeing its first Green councillor, David Lyons, in Haddenham and Stone, a ward that has traditionally been a strong Tory seat. The Green Party also tripled its share of the vote at the recent Newport West by-election, called after long-standing MP Paul Flynn passed away. Deputy Leader Amelia Womack won 3.9 per cent of the vote in a crowded playing field as both Labour and Conservatives lost voters.
In total, 2,595 Greens are standing across the country in the May local elections, the highest number of candidates the Green Party has ever fielded.
“This will be our biggest ever local election campaign,” commented Jonathan Bartley. “I’ve never seen Greens this ready to win and take us one step closer to having a Green on every council.
“The government has failed local communities. While Westminster crumbles and the political establishment tears itself apart, ordinary people are paying the price. Local services have been decimated and the most vulnerable worst affected.
“Up and down England and Wales local Greens are filling the gap. While Conservative and Labour candidates are getting doors slammed on them, more and more people are seeing that Green councillors work in and with communities to win the change they need.”
This is what Greens can do in just 100 days when you elect them, Our new councillors in Trafford have already put their first motion through council on single-use plastics. #100daysofgreen pic.twitter.com/n6MtF6JsL7— Trafford Green Party (@traffordgreens) 13 August 2018