The Green Party is to field four candidates in next month’s election to Belfast City Council.
Clare Bailey (Lagan Bank), Ross Campbell (Victoria), David Newman (Pottinger) and Mark Simpson (Balmoral) submitted their nomination papers at City Hall this week.
Lagan Bank candidate Clare Bailey predicted that 2010 will see the Greens make history by winning their first seat on the City Council.
Clare Bailey said: “The Green vote has soared in Northern Ireland over the last six years and Belfast is no exception. Our vote in South Belfast in last year’s Westminster election was almost 50% higher than in the previous Assembly election – almost unheard of for a small party in a first past the post poll.
“Voters have been telling us on the doorsteps since the start of the year that they want change. The Green party can be that change – we bring new faces, new policies and a new way of doing politics that is not about flags, not about big business donors, but about people and the environment we all live in.”
The key principle of the Green Party is that policy makers at all levels should ensure that every decision they take is in the interests of people, the economy and the environment.
Clare Bailey explained: “Belfast should have recycled 35% of its waste last year, but the target was missed. If this continues, the city may face fines or have to buy additional landfill credits from neighbouring councils who perform better, which will ultimately mean higher rates. So increasing recycling is good for the planet and good for ratepayers.
“Our urban parks are good for the environment, but also make a vital contribution to both physical and mental health, which in turn saves the health service money, so protecting them from the sort of development now underway at Belmont Park is a no-brainer.
“The council must also be a strong advocate for building regulations that force improvements in energy efficiency, reducing fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions, and for better public transport to reduce congestion, improve air quality and ensure mobility for all regardless of income. Ultimately, we want to see greater responsibility in these areas devolved to local government.”
The Green Party is fielding more than 20 council candidates as well as six Assembly candidates in the elections on 5 May.