THE CAMPAIGN manager for the Green Party in West Devon has pledged to ‘shift the Conservatives off their perch’ as they field more candidates than every before in the upcoming May elections.

The Greens are putting forward 13 candidates in wards across the borough – including two in the ward of Burrator – on May 4.

Campaign manager Judy Maciejowksa, herself standing in the Exbourne ward, said that the climate change crisis made it imperative to have their voices heard now.

‘Really we want to give as many people as possible the chance of a green vote,’ she said.

‘The first-past-the-post electoral system makes it difficult for smaller parties, so we’ve worked with green-minded independents to share wards and not compete for the same votes.

‘Voters across the borough will now have the opportunity either to cast their vote for the Green Party or for a like-minded independent candidate. Four years ago two Green Party councillors were elected. This time we’re on track to increase our numbers substantially and, together with independent councillors, become the majority group on the council.’

‘Our Green Party councillors will work to protect and enhance the rich biodiversity of West Devon, expand public transport, especially for cyclist and pedestrians and improve the quality and quantity of housing in the borough. Greens have shown how we work with people to tackle the issues that matter to them, rather than the interests of big business. It really is time for a change.’

Greens will be standing in Bridestowe, Bere Alston, Burrator (two candidates), Drewsteignton, Exbourne, Hatherleigh, Okehampton North, Okehampton South, Tamarside, Tavistock South East, Tavistock North and South Tawton, this last being defended by sitting Green councillor Lynn Daniel. In Buckland Monachorum, the other sitting Green councillor Lucy Wood is not standing because she has moved out of the borough, and the Greens are not putting forward a candidate, instead backing the independent candidate.

Currently 31-strong West Devon Borough Council has 17 Conservative councillors making up the biggest group on the council, so they are in overall control at present by a narrow margin.

While some wards such as Okehampton North are well contested, a number of others are seeing the candidates up against just the Tory candidate. Dr Malcolm Calder is standing in Okehampton South, where the Greens lost by a margin of 17 votes at the last council elections four years ago. Chagford, where Dr Jane Elliott is standing for the Greens, is another hopeful, as this was lost by the narrow margin of 15 votes at the last election.

Ms Maciejowska added: ‘We are in a position where we are working working with the independents we should be able to shift the Conservatives off their perch.’

She added that the Green Party ‘felt the time was right’ as ‘people are really looking to us now. Whereas before they have listened to the green rhetoric from other parties, they feel now that that isn’t really working.’