Ahead of the Canterbury North by-election for Kent County Council on November 15, the Journal invited each of the six candidates to submit a contribution. Here Henry Stanton, the Green Party candidate, shares his thoughts
A vote for the Green Party in Canterbury North is a vote for a county councillor who will combine campaigning for local concerns such as better public transport, better recycling and better cycling infrastructure with continuous pressure on the council to work to combat climate change.
Conservative-run Kent County Council started their term of office by voting themselves a 15% pay rise and since then have laid waste to our most important public services.
It reduced bus services, made virtually no effort to improve cycling facilities and simply burnt a huge percentage of the household waste that they collect. On top of that, their pension fund continues to invest in companies engaged in fracking, tobacco and fossil fuels.
As your county councillor, I would stand alongside our other Green Party councillor, Martin Whybrow, in fighting for a cleaner council and a green Blean and Rough Common.
We want to see a reduction in air pollution, an increase in the number of buses, more affordable housing and a genuine, sustainable commitment to fully functional hospitals and medical services across East Kent. All of these things are achievable but just require political will in order to achieve them. Political will that the Tories lack.
Ultimately, there is one issue above all others that is now coming to concern all voters – the impact of climate change.
Already in Kent we are seeing the impact of it with more extreme weather events, unseasonal temperatures and unpredictable crop yields.
The recent UN report on climate change shows that this is only set to get worse. We have 12 years to avoid the truly catastrophic consequences of an above 2 degree rise in global temperatures and if we don’t, the impacts will be felt in Canterbury.
Whether it be rising sea levels increasing the incidence of flooding in the area or rising sea temperatures wiping out our famous oyster stocks, even the most mild of temperature rises will affect us here. If we do nothing, we can expect 10 metre sea rises by the end of the century.
It’s a gloomy prospect. However, the Green Party knows we can solve the problem if we start now and act locally. Our council has the power to make a difference – by promoting clean public transport, divesting its pension fund of dirty stocks and encouraging sustainable energy production; instead it does nothing.
A Green councillor would battle to make all these changes and ensure that Canterbury North remains a beautiful, clean and green place to live.
Henry Stanton is a teacher and stood for election to Parliament at the 2017 General Election
Click here to read the contributions by the other five candidates: