Council elections: Greens fighting for 30 seats

St Albans Green Party candidates.

Green Party candidates: Kyle Riley (candidate for Harpenden West ward), Matt Fisher (candidate for Clarence ward) Stephane Farenga (Ashley ward) and Simon Grover (defending St Peter’s ward). - Credit: PHOTO SYNERGY

We spoke to St Albans District Greens ahead of the county and district elections on May 6 to find out what they perceive to be the key issues locally, and what policies they want to introduce to tackle them.

Cllr Simon Grover said: "St Albans District Greens are fielding their biggest ever list of candidates, for 30 seats on the district and county councils, in every available ward and division in the district."

Buoyed by national opinion polls that put the Greens ahead of the Lib Dems, and a surge of interest in environmental issues including the climate crisis, local Greens are working hard to target a number of seats. They hope to get Green councillor Simon Grover re-elected and build on that with other wins.

As there are two council elections on the same day this year, local Greens are reporting residents telling them that they feel happy to use at least one of their votes to vote Green, even if they use the other for another party.

Cllr Grover said: “We are looking at a huge surge in Green votes this year, as so many people are prepared to split their two votes between us and another party – as well as the many people who are using both their votes for us.”

Lots of local issues are natural territory for the Greens: from traffic congestion and air pollution to demand for electric charging points, the state of the parks and the growing interest in tree preservation. Greens argue that measures to tackle the climate crisis can also save taxpayers’ money.

Green councillor Simon Grover points to his success in getting hundreds of solar panels fitted to leisure centres, insulation installed in leaky council buildings and special glazing for the new museum. Such measures reduce overall carbon emissions and reduce energy bills too.

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Simon added: “Residents are really keen to have Green voices on the council, bringing in fresh thinking, saving money, and holding the administration to account on its environmental policies.”

Green councillors across the country (there are 370 of them) are also proud to say they are not ‘whipped’ like other parties – they are not told by the party what to say or how to vote, but are free to act individually according to their conscience, and so able to speak up for residents in a way that other councillors cannot.