Elected in 2019, Dom Armstrong is the only Green councillor on Sunderland City Council, representing the ward of Washington South. We spoke to him about his experiences on the council since his election.
How long have you been a member of the Green Party and why did you join?
I joined the green party about five years ago, driven through curiosity and a feeling that I should be doing and learning more about the environment.
What did you do before becoming a councillor?
Before I was a councillor I ran my own business as a solar panel and electric car charger installer… I still do!
What made you stand to be a Green councillor?
I stood to be a Green councillor initially (and twice unsuccessfully) as I felt it should be an option for people in my area to vote Green, and if I didn't stand they would have to vote for someone else, or not vote at all.
What policies have you been pursuing since joining the council?
Since joining the council I have campaigned successfully to stop an incinerator being built in my area, stop executive houses being built on my local football pitches (successfully removed now from Sunderland Council housing plan, following an appeal to the government inspector of the plan) and to encourage scrutiny of the council's own climate emergency declaration (successful following my first motion to have cabinet report back to the full council meeting on the progress made towards the 2030 target).
Why do you think Green policies resonated in your ward of Washington South?
Green policies resonated as the constituents became aware of my battles against the incinerator and the football field houses, coupled with the Thunberg/Attenborough effect.
What challenges have you experienced since being elected to the council and how have you overcome them?
Since being elected I have experienced time challenges as I run my own business alongside my councillor role. Other than that it's been okay.
How have you been able to collaborate with other parties/councillors?
I've got along fine with my fellow councillors, most of them are sympathetic to green causes (at least superficially). The Liberal Democrats and Tories proposed the Climate Emergency declaration before I was elected, prompted by us!
What support have you received from the Association of Green Councillors since you were elected? How useful has it been?
I've had some good advice from my mentor in Liverpool who I contacted when I first started the role. To be honest I haven't had time to call him again, but I know he's there if I need him.
Do you see the Green presence increasing on Sunderland Council in the future?
We are hoping to get at least one more seat at the next elections.
Dom Armstrong is a Green Party councillor for Washington South ward on Sunderland City Council.