WITH fears for the planet now at the top of people’s minds, the Green Party is hoping it can win over voters next month.

Greens in the north west enjoyed some success at last year’s local elections – gaining seats on Trafford, Knowsley and Burnley councils, and defending seats on Liverpool and Wirral councils.

Nigel Hennerley, Green candidate for High Legh, wants to see his party replicate that in Cheshire East on May 2.

He believes the chaos in Westminster surrounding Brexit shows the current party political system is broken – and there could be an appetite to vote for new councillors who will not be tied down to an allegiance with the Conservatives or Labour.

Nigel said: “What often happens is someone comes up with a good idea but the opposite party does not support it, so you get party political gameplaying.

“We want to get away from that, we will get behind a good idea if it is for the benefit of the community, and we are happy to work with others if it is for the right reasons.”

Climate change, air quality and single-use plastics have all been high on the national agenda in the past few years, while the prospects of fracking and HS2 bring environmental concerns close to home for voters in Cheshire East.

Knutsford Guardian:

INEOS currently holds licences to frack between Altrincham and Goostrey, while IGas holds licences to frack on land from Middlewich and Holmes Chapel down to Nantwich and Audlem.

Nigel said: “Anybody that looks at any depth into fracking will realise it is bad – for our climate, for our environment, for earthquakes.”

Cheshire East Council has previously voiced opposition to fracking, but it is firmly positive on the possible arrival of HS2 in the borough.

The authority has lobbied Government for Crewe to get five to seven HS2 trains per hour running from its hub, while it says it will push for ‘world class mitigation’ in a bid to protect the environment.

But some MPs – including Tatton’s Esther McVey – are becoming increasingly vocal with their concerns about the £52 billion project, and how it could affect the environment.

Nigel said: “It is losing support in Government, which is a good thing, because it would be so damaging to our environment.

“I have looked into HS2 for a number of years and what is clear to me is that no matter what mitigations are proposed for it, it will never be enough, the damage is too great.

“CEC needs to consider all people in the borough, not just those in places like Crewe where it is perceived there will be a benefit to HS2.”

Knutsford Guardian:

Should the Green Party make gains next month, it will call on CEC to declare a climate emergency, review the local plan to make sure more brownfield sites are used and push for more environmentally-friendly homes.

It would also review the recent changes to bus services in the borough – with Nigel particularly concerned about Little Bollington being left with no service – and provide support for the rural community.

Nigel added: “By the mid-2030s we will be facing some real challenges around climate change and its effects on biodiversity.

“So I think the environment is a very important issue – but it is not the only issue. If I am elected I will represent the whole community and listen to their concerns no matter what they are.”

Voters in Cheshire East will head to the polls on Thursday, May 2.

The Conservatives are looking to hold on to their control of the council and continue their growth agenda, while opposition parties and independent candidates are demanding a fresh approach.

For more information visit cheshireeast.gov.uk/elections