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Greens seek next major milestone as they push for greatest ever return of candidates to Highland Council

Scottish Greens Highland candidates
Scottish Greens Highland candidates

The Green party is seeking to reach another major milestone this election by forming its first group at Highland Council.

The party returned its first Highland councillor last term and is seeking to go one better this time round.

Pippa Hadley took up her post for the Badenoch and Strathspey ward in 2017 becoming the first Green to hold a seat within the council chamber.

Pippa Hadley made history as the first Scottish Green to be elected into the Highland Council chamber

Progress has already been made, with the Green’s matching 2017’s total – even before the polls open.

Andrew Baldrey will be declared as a councillor for Caol and Mallaig on May 6 after only three candidates came forward for the three member ward.

The ward is the only uncontested in the Highland region.

‘A lot to do’

Mr Baldrey, who has experience as a councillor south of the border, expressed his delight but added that there is much work to do.

He said: “I will work with dedication to make sure the people of Caol and Mallaig are properly represented in the Highland Council.

“I have a manifesto to deliver which focuses on building a greener, fairer council that truly delivers for my community.”

Andrew Baldrey (right) will be announced as a councillor for Caol and Mallaig.

Highland Greens standing 11 candidates

This election, the party has put forward 11 candidates – more than ever before – for election across the Highlands.

Key priorities outlined in the Green manifesto include providing more affordable warm homes for locals, particularly good quality homes available for rent for young people and families.

The Greens say they will push for all new publicly-owned housing to be built to Passivhaus standards to reduce fuel poverty, increase quality of life and help the Highlands meet its climate targets.

Active travel and transport a high priority

It is also no great surprise that the Greens also wish to improve active travel and public transport.

The party is keen to deliver a publicly-owned Highland bus service, providing an efficient integrated service similar to that of Lothian Buses in Edinburgh.

There is also a promise to deliver 20mph speed limits in residential areas, as well as ensuring children who live within two miles of schools are able to walk or cycle to school safely.

The Greens are seeking to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential areas

The Greens also pledge to seek improvements to the rail network to provide more coverage, and for the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure, as well as encouraging the formation of EV car clubs for rural communities.

Active travel is also supported as a way of reducing emissions but also alleviating mental health issues.

Tourism should not be at the expense of communities

Tourism is a huge contributor to the Highland economy with the Green party keen to market “slow tourism”.

However, candidates say that communities in tourism areas must remain as living communities and not just be destinations. They add that accommodation for tourism should not be at the expense of communities.

The Greens say tourism is a big player, but should not come at the expense of locals

The need for school buildings to become more efficient is a high priority, as is the adequate funding of additional support needs (ASN) staff to ensure children are adequately supported within the learning environment.

Uncontested seat shows fragility of democratic system

Despite already having one councillor elected, the Green party has also expressed its concern at the ward being uncontested.

Anne Thomas, Black Isle candidate and Highland Greens communications co-ordinator said: “The fact that not enough people stood in Caol and Mallaig to trigger an election is a symptom of our democratic system’s fragility.”

She believes the role of a councillor is “incredibly undervalued” and under-supported.

Anne Thomas – the self declared ‘Green Granny’

She added: “In those conditions, it’s no wonder people don’t come forward to serve.”

The self-declared “Green granny” outlines her motivation for standing for election as: “I want to build a world my grandchildren can be part of.”

142 candidates to battle it out

A total of 142 candidates have put their names forward for election on May 5.

Seventy-one seats are up for grabs across 20 multi-member wards.

Voters will take to the polls on May 5

The full breakdown of allegiances to parties is as follows:

  • Independent – 40
  • Other – 12
  • Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 21
  • Scottish Green Party – 11
  • Scottish Labour Party – 14
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats – 21
  • Scottish National Party (SNP) – 23

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