Melanie Collins is the Green Party candidate for the Havering & Redbridge constituency in this month’s London Assembly election. Here’s why she thinks she deserves your vote on 6 May
I am a community campaigner based in Havering. I volunteer for a health charity and local nature reserve, support local businesses, locally sourced and Fairtrade produce and advocate for environmental and animal welfare organisations.
I entered Green politics in 2001, and was the Green Party’s General Election candidate for Hornchurch and Upminster in 2005, 2010 and 2015. I maintain a year-round community presence, helping residents with health, education, transport, waste and planning issues.
The Green Party has a wonderful record at these elections. Greens on the London Assembly have already made a difference at City Hall. With commitment and hands-on experience, they’ve worked hard to tackle homelessness, cut carbon emissions, combat dirty air and get a climate emergency declared in London. Green Assembly members have won respect across the political spectrum.
As the Covid-19 threat recedes, people will need to get out of their cars and back onto public transport. Most commuters depend on trains and buses to get around, but fares are not fair for everyone. Greens would work towards a single travel zone, so commuting between the City and outer London is less expensive, similar to New York and Paris.
Affordable housing and green jobs are also high on my agenda. I believe comprehensive insulation, solar panels and ground-source heat pumps should be part and parcel of new construction, with all new builds on reclaimed development, not Green Belt land. Of particular concern is protection of our Green Belt agriculture, horticulture and allotments, parks, playing fields and nature reserves.
The planting of bulbs and seeds in the fourth Grow Zone on Christchurch Green was a lovely community project. The seeding of tree pits with wild flowers, especially native species, would improve overall biodiversity, as well as helping pollinators like bees, butterflies and hoverflies. These hard-working little beasties are declining at an alarming rate due to habitat loss and human activities. Christchurch Green is a much-loved park, but the possible installation of a licensed cafe here risks undoing some of the benefits. Part of the success of Wanstead High Street is its proximity to the Green. Introducing a licensed cafe would create unwelcome competition, and the sale of alcohol is likely to change the nature of this much-valued green space. Why not work with the owners of a purpose-built establishment that’s already here rather than decrease the amount of green space in a conservation area on Christchurch Green?
Havering & Redbridge constituency candidates for the London Assembly are: Thomas Clarke (Liberal Democrats), Melanie Collins (Green), Judith Garfield (Labour), Keith Prince (Conservative), Richard Tice (Reform UK) and Andy Walker (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition). For more information, visit wnstd.com/LA