"A RECORD number of Green Party candidates are standing in the elections to the new Somerset Council.

"At every election the number of Green councillors increases, with 447 currently sitting on 141 councils across England and Wales.

"More people are voting Green for many reasons.

"Increasingly, it is understood we face climate and ecological emergencies.

"Growing warnings from scientists and United Nations reports are alarming.

"Unless we change the way we work, travel and live, we face the real possibility of the collapse of human civilisation before the end of this century and the massive loss of habitat and wildlife.

"At the same time, we face a cost of living crisis, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to rising energy bills and prices.

"The Green Party has the policies to combat these problems.

"One focus is insulating our homes – we have some of the least well-insulated in Europe.

"The Tory government has just announced an energy plan which still doesn’t address insulation.

"Instead, they focus on nuclear power, which is very expensive and will take years to build, and on fracking for gas and opening up new oilfields.

"Along with insulation, immediate priorities should be more renewable energy, including from on-shore wind, solar and tides, and energy storage and a smart grid.

"Currently, the Green Party has 15 county and district councillors in Somerset, including two on Somerset West and Taunton Council.

"Cllr Dave Mansell (Wiveliscombe and district) successfully proposed the council’s climate and ecological emergency declarations, which have led to many new policies and projects. In the last year, he chaired a working group on the insulation of the council’s housing stock, whose report was approved by scrutiny committee.

"Cllr Andy Pritchard (West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine) has supported the Taunton Area Cycling Campaign in highlighting the need for better cycling policies and more routes, including to connect Wellington and Bishops Lydeard to Taunton.

"Green councillors have called for more provision to meet local housing needs, support for the health and social care sector and big improvements to local bus services.

"Greens also wish to see more investment in local renewable energy and in local businesses, including those working in the food, circular economy, and green energy sectors.

"Green councillors strongly serve the areas they represent and look forward to further success in the elections to the new Somerset Council on May 5."