The Green Party have won seats on 51 councils for the first time in a result partly attributed to the recent Extinction Rebellion protests.
The Greens went into the election with 178 councillors on 69 councils, which was a record high in itself. Now it has 313 councillors on 122 councils.
Areas where the Greens have won seats for the first time include Carlisle City Council, Folkestone BC, Sunderland City Council, Cotswolds DC and South Tyneside Council. The party managed to gain five seats on South Oxfordshire DC for the first time and has seats on every district in Suffolk except Ipswich BC. And Solihull, an area in which the Greens were already strong, they gained three seats to clinch 14 in all.
While the Green Party had been expecting to do well, Amelia Womack, Green Party deputy leader told LGC she was ”absolutely thrilled” with the way it’s gone.
”There is no doubt that the work of Extinction Rebellion has resulted in climate change being higher up the national agenda, which has helped us,” she said.
She said that her party is “hoping to now call for a climate emergency in those areas where we have gained seats.”
Last November after a Green Party motion, Bristol City Council was the first council in the UK to declare a climate emergency, setting targets aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030 and 2038.
Since then, Ms Womack says the Green Party has been “building that up” across the country, and has helped almost 50 councils so far to do the same. ”But where we’ve done that, it’s been watered down by members of the Labour party and parts have been taken out,” she said. ”We want it to be embedded in council policy.”
Sian Berry, the Green Party’s co-leader, claimed that the “green surge” of membership from 2015 (when the party more than doubled membership from 30,900 to 63,219) has now borne fruit. Since the election, which at the time of writing was a week ago, the party has claimed 1,800 new members.
Ms Berry attributes the win to ”strong local parties around the country delivering community-based campaigns that have tapped into the passion for remaining in the EU and the determination to seek real, urgent action on climate change”.
She added: “The Green leadership have travelled around the country, have seen the way local support has blossomed, for Greens embedded in their communities but inspired by a vision of a UK living within the limits of this fragile planet while delivering a decent, secure life for everyone.”