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A General Election

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. An election has been announced.

With the current Government wreaking havoc on the environment, I suspect many of us will be looking for some change. Do not underestimate the Tories ability to win elections though. If you do feel tempted to vote for them just remember the state of water, rail and the increased costs we all face for food and fuel. They have committed to new road projects and are investing in further oil and gas extraction and undermining the good progress made on renewables.

Their disdain for small business is grating. Take a look at our high streets, the local pub and the wider hospitality. These whole sectors are now in the hands of a few very large, often multinational, companies and they are leaving our town and city centres bereft of life. The lack of policy for even housing to renew the high street spaces is disappointing.

Their obsession with what are in reality tiny numbers of migrants and the ridiculous investment in the Rwanda scheme undermines any good that traditional Tories may have been capable of. I know I shouldn’t blog in a partisan way, but I think this time we feel it widely.

But the Leader of the Opposition gave us his six pledges with no mention of environment and, worse, a distancing for the Welsh Labour Government who have enacted sound environmental policies such as the – Future Generations Act, Active Travel Act, default 20 mph and space for nature built into universal farm payments.

One hopes the forthcoming manifesto will give us reason to vote for them rather than simply against the Tories.

Only the Green party will offer the sort of thing we are asking for, so do you choose between a protest vote or to return a change of Government?

Look out for thoughts from the conservation bodies and representatives of outdoor activities. I’ve popped a few on the pictures here that are already available.

We need to ask questions of our candidates. Questions for us to ask. Might include something about a commitment on access issues and Rights of Way. Ask about plans for nature recovery, funding for national parks, investment in active travel, provision for clean waterways and better public transport. Hopefully you’ll have a few of your own questions too. Should you get to speak to your local candidates you will need to have your questions ready so that you control the dialogue rather than let them tell you what they want to tell you. You will of course be fobbed off with Party political answers, but all you can do is try.

I understand fatigue with the first past the post system, but it’s all we have. Make your vote count. Start asking questions now.


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