The Green Party has pledged a “revolution from the bottom up” through a Green Recovery plan as it launched its local election campaign.
Speaking at the socially-distanced launch in London’s Battersea Park, co-leader Jonathan Bartley said voters should see the Green Party as “the obvious choice” in the current climate.
The party is proposing a transformation of the agriculture industry, use of sustainable materials for sustainable homes and an improved transport network to distribute energy from offshore renewables more efficiently, in a move it says will “share the prosperity around”.
Mr Bartley said he believed there could be some “real breakthroughs” for the party on May 6 as it looks to build support in areas such as Sheffield, Burnley and Bristol.
He told the PA news agency that the party hoped to “build on the gains” achieved in the 2019 local election when Greens more than doubled its number of councillors.
The party enjoyed its best local election result in its 46-year history two years ago, which took its numbers to 362 councillors on 122 councils across the country.
Mr Bartley said: “We’ve shown that we can get elected, we’re now playing a part in running 17 local councils.
“We hope to be playing a part in running even more, making breakthroughs in places like Mansfield, we haven’t before, building on places like Burnley, maybe being the biggest party again in Bristol, and getting more control in places like Sheffield.”
He also hit out at the climate policies of the Conservative and Labour parties, saying that below the surface they are not “truly green”.
By spending £12 billion on fossil fuel subsidies and expanding airports, he claimed the Conservatives are not “dealing with the climate as an emergency”.
“We need a transformation across every single sector of the economy.”
At the launch, the party put its support behind a full inquiry into the Government handling of the coronavirus crisis in order to “learn the lessons” for when future variants or possible future viruses come down the line.
Mr Bartley said it was “scandalous” that “the Government has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people through its inaction”.
He added: “We still need a properly funded community-led, local authority-led test trace and isolate system.”
Mr Bartley, who was arrested for taking part in Extinction Rebellion protests in October, also said “supporting non-violent protests is an article of faith for the Green Party” and they would support further Extinction Rebellion protests as a way to “get the Government to listen”.