AS Tatton prepares to head to the polls on December 12, the Guardian has interviewed all candidates in mid Cheshire.

Here, Green Party candidate for Tatton Nigel Hennerley explains why he should get your vote.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’ve been an environmentalist since the 1980s. I read a book from a guy called Jeremy Rifkin in 1982. I was about 21 years old.

It talked about the fact we are using up the earth’s resources much quicker than they can be replaced. We even knew back then about extreme energy extraction – fracking, shale gas, trying to extract gas out of a tight rock rather than wells. I thought at the time this is shocking, it’s difficult to deal with, but I had in the back of my mind that this is going to affect future generations, it would happen somewhere else somehow. Then I realised in 2014 we are there – Cheshire gets licences for fracking.

The oil and gas authority have said it is not safe, and the Government has said ‘OK, we will have no more fracking’.

Those are just words before an election – there is no ban on fracking. As far as the fracking companies are concerned it is still all up for grabs.

Climate change has been one of the big talking points this election…

We are in an absolute crisis – which is a buzzword in this election. We have schoolchildren on strike every month, we have Extinction Rebellion on our streets. But let’s look at the science.

The 2050 commitments are not enough. The intergovernmental panel on climate change has said that even if we went carbon neutral by then, there’s only a 50 per cent chance – like flipping a coin – that we can save a mass extinction of the earth.

So even though all the other parties have climate change in their manifesto, and it is very well intentioned, it does not add up to what is needed.

We need to transition our economy into one that is sustainable and we need to reduce our carbon to a safe level. And we have a decade to do it.

This election is it. We will not get another opportunity to prioritise the climate in a General Election than this one. If we fail, if humanity fails to do enough in the next five years, we will almost certainly fail in the second five years – which means it will be too late.

Everything has got to change and the Green Party is the only party that has the vision to make those changes.

What should happen to our transport infrastructure to meet the climate challenge?

All the main parties say they understand this, but they also want to build HS2 and expand airports. You can’t do both.

Manchester Airport wants to expand its passenger base by 77 per cent in the next 10 years from 28 million to over 50 million passengers. And this is in a climate crisis.

All this is based on business as usual, fossil fuels, as if we’ve got all the time in the world. We really haven’t. We’ve got the next five years to give ourselves a chance.

HS2 will take 125 years to be carbon neutral. It will destroy or threaten 108 ancient woodlands.

The quicker we go carbon neutral the better, but you can’t just take car keys off people and close down petrol stations, you would cause chaos. You have to have the infrastructure to make it happen.

Bus services have been cut in recent years – is that something you would like to see reversed?

I don’t blame the councils because they have just had their funding cut from national Government so they’ve had to make savings.

If you’ve got a bus service that is not making money, it can cost £70,000 a year to subsidise a bus service that no one is using or not enough people are using to make it profitable.

The point is we need to rethink the way we have transport – particularly in urban areas. Transport needs to be available, it needs to be a no brainer, it needs to be cheap enough that you will go on it because it is less hassle than the car.

But in rural communities we need to have a bus service – we can look hydrogen, electric buses, smaller buses – but there needs to be a service there.

There are now people cut off. In Little Bollington there is no service at all, so you have an elderly community that does not even make medical appointments because it is too much trouble to get there.

What about other investments into our public services?

We’re in a situation where the Conservative Party think they are the only people that can be trusted to sort out the mess they created.

You can talk about schools, policing, they brought in austerity measures that resulted in 21,000 less officers and now they want to bring in 20,000 new ones – were they wrong the first time?

Everything comes back to the climate emergency we face. We need police officers, we will need our fire service, we are going to be faced with drastic situations moving forward.

People talk about NHS, education, schools, all the rest – if you’re going to change and provide a stable economy in the climate we face, everything must change.

We have to invest in our NHS, not sell it off to private companies, it is not right that shareholders make profit on your healthcare or on the drugs that you are using.

We feel that health should be free at the point of use – and that includes dental treatment. Education should be free, not just for children but for everybody, education should not stop at 18 or 21. It should be available for everybody, it enhances society to have education, and it should be free.

The Green policy of a universal basic income stands out against the other parties – is that the right approach to tackle poverty?

It is a good one to get your head around. Everyone gets it regardless – you haven’t got a system of working out who gets it.

You might think ‘hang on a minute, you are giving a universal income to someone who is affluent and doesn’t need it?’. Well you’re going to tax them later – so don’t worry about that.

Everybody gets it, it’s a uniform thing, and it takes the pressure off people. They don’t have to worry about where their food is going to come from.

There will be other benefits that need topping up – the UBI is about £89 a week so it wouldn’t be enough. But to make it simpler to roll out, everyone would get it.

There needs to be a fairer society and UBI is a way of starting to do that.

Tatton is a rural constituency, but the Greens want to move towards a plant-based economy. How would the party support farming?

The Green Party is about localism. We want power and economy devolved to the most local source. It’s not a good idea to bring food over from Spain or Peru to eat in Tatton when we are a farming community.

Yes, it’s recognised we need to change our farming methods, but this is mainly intensive farming in places like Australia and America – they are the worst culprits here. The way they produce lamb, beef, the way they chop down the Amazon to grow soya to feed the cattle.

What we are looking at is wanting to produce food more locally. We are not going to stop people eating meat or dairy, we want to support our farmers, and we have an opportunity in Tatton to do that.

We want to produce food sustainably, if there are changes that need to be made let’s supporting our farming community to make those changes, but we want a fair system for our farmers and food growers.

Cheshire has been hit hard by county lines drug dealing in recent years. What needs to happen?

In a word – education. We have a system where we criminalise drug use. We think it shouldn’t be so much a criminal aspect as a health issue.

I’m not promoting drug use for one minute, but to have [using] cannabis as a crime and give someone a criminal record when a fact of life is that over half of schoolkids will try cannabis at some point. To catch them people and give them a criminal record, disrupting their future life, is not what we should be doing. What we should be doing is educating those young adults of the dangers of drug use, what it’s it, what effects it will have on your health and promote that information.Then there’s addiction, and people who are addicted that are forced into crime. That’s where your real problems begin. We need to stop crime, but we need to treat addiction as a health issue and support people to rehabilitate.

I think the war on drugs is failing and we need to think of more effective methods of dealing with it.

We also have local festivals and a particular culture – in rave culture – of drug use. We have local people taking drugs, not knowing what is in them, and tragedies occur.

Rather than have a hard-line criminal take on that, what we really need in that situation is a testing area – where drugs can be tested to see if they are safe, and then you have an opportunity to educate people.

Finally, you have a day off – no work or campaigning to do. How would you spend your ideal day in Cheshire?

The one thing I would like to do is go for a walk. The ideal one for me would be Macclesfield Forest – Wild Boar Clough. That’s one of my favourite walks, there’s no better way of seeing Cheshire.

There needs to be a huge culture change in what we perceive to be success. Historically we’ve gone to school, university, tried hard for a well-paid job, got a house and a couple of cars.

A trip to the Trafford Centre looking at stuff you didn’t think you wanted has to change to experiencing a walk in a forest, connecting with nature. You get a lot more back from that than you do from buying a piece of plastic.

We are destroying that nature by our pursuits of consumerism.