We asked all the candidates to provide a candidate statement of up to 750 words, which should include some background about them and why they’re standing.
The Green Party
My name is Michael Cope and I am the Wales Green Party candidate for Llanishen and Thornhill. I am a local candidate. I grew up in Llanishen and attended Llanishen High School. After four years at university I came back and live here now. I have strong roots and connections to the area and love living here.
One of the benefits of living in Llanishen is the access to green spaces. A keen walker, I enjoy walking through the parks and grassy areas of Llanishen and the wider city. This love of the city’s greenery is what is driving me to stand for election to Cardiff Council. As councils across Wales rush to cut costs, it is vital that our local environment and the local services we rely on are not sacrificed. Our environment and our public services are vital to us and have positive effects on our health and wellbeing. I don’t think Cardiff Council understands that.
With the climate crisis deepening, the need to have local councillors with a strong knowledge of the environment and a passion to improve it is greater than ever. Environmentalism is not just about large, multinational agreements to combat climate change. It’s also about your local area-whether your local green spaces are well maintained, how often your bins are collected, whether public transport is affordable and frequent, whether you have access to decent leisure facilities and many other aspects of local policy which help determine our quality of life. All of us have a stake in the fight for our environment and we all need to work hard to protect it.
I joined the Green Party because it is the only party to recognise the threat climate change poses and the only party with the answers. We recognise that the environment is not separate from economics or social justice but is interlinked with them. In order to truly benefit local communities we must invest in our environment and services, recognising them as a public good with long term benefits that cannot be ignored.
Green Party councillors across the country are working hard to improve their local services and their local environments. I want to become one of them. We need to shake up Cardiff Council.
As councillor, I would:
- Campaign for the return of recycling facilities to Cardiff North. It was a huge mistake of the Labour council to shut down the Wedal Road recycling centre, forcing residents to travel even further. Llanishen residents need a recycling centre that is accessible and within easy reach.
- Fight to protect our green spaces from development. All residents should have easy access to well-maintained parks, playing fields and green spaces.
- Demand that Cardiff Council work to reduce air pollution, particularly around schools and leisure facilities.
- Work to make public transport cheaper and more accessible to all in Llanishen and Thornhill. Bus travel should ideally be free to all to reduce reliability on cars. I support the planned South Wales Metro, providing that Llanishen and Thornhill residents are provided for by it.
- Push for the rejuvenation of empty shops by campaigning for Cardiff Council to introduce social business rates and deferred rate schemes to independent businesses. Vibrant high streets should be seen primarily as a public good, not as a money-making exercise.
- Support methods to increase and improve active travel infrastructure in Llanishen. Walkers and cyclists need improved routes. Roads must be made safer through proper repair of potholes.
- Push for more investment in our public services and work hard to improve them. I oppose outsourcing of public services and believe outsourced services should be brought back in-house.
- Call for more affordable and social housing across Cardiff. Councils should bring empty homes back into the housing market. All new homes should be built to the strongest environmental standards. I would support the introduction of a scheme to help homeowners retrofit existing homes with solar panels.
- Campaign with Green Party councillors across the country for an end to the Tory Government’s slashing of council budgets across the UK. With an ageing population and the effects of climate change biting, councils should not be forced to cut provision for local services which many people rely on to get by. We need an end to short-termist slash and burn attitudes to council budgets.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.