Green revolution underway in Shropshire as voters look for cleaner agenda

Shropshire has undergone a green revolution.

Councillor Mike Isherwood, says the town council will work with organisations such as the Heritage Action Zone to ensure Oswestry prospers
Councillor Mike Isherwood, says the town council will work with organisations such as the Heritage Action Zone to ensure Oswestry prospers

The unitary authority, Shropshire Council now has four Green Party councillors. Julian Dean, also expected to become Shrewsbury Town Council's first Green Party Mayor, is now joined by Julia Evans representing Radbrook and Duncan Kerr and Mike Isherwood from Oswestry.

It is in Oswestry that the real switch to the Greens has happened.

The town council saw a massive swing in the elections earlier this month.

No less than 12 of the 18 seats were won by Green Party members making Oswestry one of the greenest councils in the UK.

The new councillors say it was concern over local, national and international issues that moved the people of Shropshire to look for a new direction.

Current Mayor, Councillor Duncan Kerr retained his seat and also regained the seat on Shropshire Council that he lost four years ago.

He said: "The result in Oswestry was amazing and a tribute to everyone who supported us, People have voted for change and for a greener, cleaner agenda.

"Oswestry has a good sense of community and a sense of place, which is very much the character of the Green Party and its localism and helping people out."

"In Shropshire there was a feeling that Shropshire Council had not delivered - from potholes to climate change and of course the proposed relief road."

Julian Dean is expected to become Shrewsbury Mayor

Another new Shropshire councillor is Mike Isherwood, an Oswestry town councillor since 2017 and chairman of its planning committee.

"The swing really is astonishing," he said.

"It is only a few years ago that if you were a member of the Green party was thought to be a bit of a crank and voting green a wasted vote.

"I have always been interested in politics and it was climate change and other environmental concerns that drew me to join the party.

"We have no illusions that it is going to be easy. We have been given a job to do and people will expect to see changes. We know have to do our best for everyone and we have to live up to expectations.

"Julian Dean has done wonders for the Green Party on Shropshire and Shrewsbury Town Council. He has led the way in showing that having a Green agenda does not affect the wish for Shropshire and Shrewsbury to prosper."

Councillor Isherwood said that, in Oswestry, teamwork would be the key to success.

"That is teamwork with our wonderful council officers and teamwork with the community. Oswestry has so many community groups and we need to work with them and support them.

"Oswestry had a real community feel and that has been strengthened by the pandemic. I think that is partly why people voted for us. People are more than ever wanting to work together as a community."

He said the green members on the previous Oswestry council has also shown that local authorities could focus on environmental issues.

"We created a climate change working group and put through motions about planting trees, getting solar panels on the roof of the market hall and electricity charging points in Central car park."

Green Party candidates celebrating their win in Oswestry.

But Councillor Isherwood said that the council would certainly not just be about the environmental.

"We are very excited about the new look council not just the green members and the new enthusiasm. Before the pandemic we agreed to bring youth services back to the town and although that has been sidetracked by Covid we are hoping to now increase youth activities.

"We have also passed a motion agreeing to look at providing a skate park if we can find land and gain funding. It is about serving the community and making Oswestry a better place in which to live."

"And it's about not ruling anything out just because we have not done it before.

"People have given us the green light to get things happening."

Nationally he said the Green party had gained up and down the county in local authority elections.

"There is a national acceptance that we must do something about climate change and the environment," he said.

"People are looking for solutions and realising they can't do it alone. They are starting to say that governments and local authorities must do something."

"They want a green revolution."

"Personalities like David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and singers and celebrities are raising awareness and the obvious weather changes, with floods, wildlfires and hurricanes can no longer to ignored."

"We have to ensure that everything that we do on all levels of local and national government, has a green layer to it."

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