WITH 24 candidates standing in wards across the Island, compared with just one at the last local council elections, the Isle of Wight Green Party has launched its bid for a voice at County Hall.

Launching its manifesto today (Monday), the party has set out a 'green vision' for the Island based on five key areas — the economy, transport, services, the environment and ethics, with a focus on fighting national government austerity cuts.

Policies include opposing fracking, addressing the impact of second homes, bringing empty properties into use, protecting green spaces from development, reducing pollution, introducing a 20mph limit in residential areas, ensuring services remain publicly owned, and supporting LGBTIQ+ diverse communities.

Ensuring the Island is self sustainable — by establishing co-operatives to grow food, promoting green transport and tourism, challenging the 'unaccountable monopolies' of the Island's bus and ferry companies, and supporting renewable energy and low carbon engineering and manufacturing industries — form a key element of the Greens' manifesto.

According to a statement issued today, the party's candidates have proven track records in running charities, project management, business intelligence, telecoms and energy engineering, and the military.

"The party has seen a huge growth in support since coming third in the 2015 General Election with over 9,000 Islanders choosing to vote Green. There will be Green candidates in over 24 council wards, which is the most in the history of the Island Green Party," it said.

IW Green Party leader and prospective parliamentary candidate Vix Lowthion, who will coordinate the campaign, said: "The outstanding quality of our team of candidates is reflected in the strength of the solutions which we are offering to a society which is increasingly divided and unequal.

"Green councillors will speak up for our Island with competency and compassion, protecting the most vulnerable people and our countryside, and investing in Green jobs. We need Green Voices for our Green Island, and after May 4 I am confident we will see a Green breakthrough onto our local council."

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk