Hastings Green party is to field candidates in all 16 wards at next year’s Hastings Borough Council elections.

Postponed from last spring because of the pandemic, votes can be cast for one seat in each ward on 6th May.

A recent Zoom meeting to inspire local members to action was addressed by Green Party co-leader Sian Berry and Tim Valentine, a Green councillor from Swale in Kent.

“Greens have never been so needed, and there is no better place to start than at our local elections,” said Tracey Lord, secretary of Hastings Greens.

Experience at other councils – particularly those where no single party has an overall controlling majority – has shown Green councillors often command deciding votes, especially with regard to environmental issues.

The decision to field candidates  across the board comes at time when Labour, nationally and locally, is facing demands from many party members to cooperate and agree to strategic election pacts with both Lib Dems and Greens. 

Although Hastings Green Party has worked tactically with local Lib Dems in the past, Lord believes the relationship has been an unequal one, leaving them disadvantaged overall.

Despite currently having no elected members, she thinks Green lobbying of Hastings Borough Council was an important factor in their adoption of climate emergency policies.   

In addition, Lord hopes the party will gain seats in East Sussex County Council elections (also to be held in May 2021.). 

In May 2019, two Green councillors, the first ever, were elected to Swale Borough Council, becoming part of a Labour-led coalition. Since then Swale Borough Council has published a climate emergency action plan and planted more than 2,500 trees to improve biodiversity. The council now pays all its employees at least the real living wage, has set up a housing company wholly owned by the council to build energy-efficient, affordable housing and introduced a planning condition to require new homes to emit 50% less carbon emissions than current building regulations. The majority of the council’s vehicle fleet is now electric vans with EV charging points installed across the borough.

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