SIXTY-TWO Green Party members are standing for county council elections in Hertfordshire on May 6, in a bid to gain a voice at the county council.
In some areas of the county – including Dacorum, East Herts, Hertsmere, St Albans and Three Rivers – there are Green Party candidates standing in every single county council division.
Currently there isn’t a single Green Party councillor on Hertfordshire County Council.
But Cllr Simon Grover – who has been the only Green Party member of St Albans District Council since 2011 – says electing even just one or two Green Party members to a council can make a difference.
“Greens bring a new fresh thinking to local government,” said Cllr Grover.
“There are 350 Green councillors across the country. And they have shown that – even in ones and twos – they can bring a new viewpoint and a very valuable view to local government.
And he adds: “A Green voice in the room is a powerful thing, that offers a sustainable and environmental agenda in its widest sense.”
Among the political priorities for the Green Party across the county, says Cllr Grover, is the introduction of a default 20 mile an hour speed limit for residential roads.
The lower limit is good for the environment, because of the reduced need to accelerate and decelerate cuts vehicle emissions.
But, says Cllr Grover, it would also improve road safety and even boost the local economy.
That’s because it would send a message that streets were ‘shared’ space – not just for cars.
And, he says, it would benefit the economy because streets would be more pleasant and that would make local shops more appealing.
Cllr Grover says the Green message is increasingly resonating with people on the doorstep, who he says increasingly understand that if they like the ideas they have to do more than ‘smile and sign a petition’.
And he stresses that even if a vote doesn’t get a particular candidate elected it does send a message.
“The more votes the louder the message is that these are issues people care about,” he says.