Hannah, 33, has lived in Faversham with her husband for three years. An active member of the community, she is an Abbey Physic Community Garden trustee and a volunteer for local initiatives including Plastic Free Faversham.
Hannah has an educational background in geography and political economics and works in human rights, advising British businesses on issues such as workers rights and the environment. This is the first time she has stood for parliament. The 2017 Green candidate was Alistair Gould, a local GP and now Swale Borough Councillor.
“The underlying theme for everything I’ve done in my life is trying to do something good,” Hannah says. “I’ve tried to pursue that not through politics but over the past couple of years it’s becoming increasingly apparent how serious the changes are that we need to make and how urgently we need to make them. Government is a huge place of power and an amazing channel to get things done.
“Sitting on the sidelines hasn’t worked. Many politicians are not acting in our interest. I can’t sit here while that happens, so I’m throwing my hat into the ring. We can’t afford to ignore the climate emergency or the inequalities in our society.
“The environment is related to every issue: tax, GDP, migration or healthcare. You can’t talk about any one of those topics unless you talk about it in a holistic sense.”
Describing itself as an alternative to traditional party politics, the Green Party says it listens to local voices. It is hosting a Peoples’ Assembly to discuss what having a “strong” community means. The event promises “no politics, no being talked at, just a community conversation”.
Hannah says: “The climate emergency is currently the single biggest threat to our way of life. We are witnessing a devastating decline in the health of our land, oceans, air and wildlife. We desperately need a real Green New Deal to address climate chaos, prioritise renewables and public transport and deliver better quality of life. Our planet needs people in power who recognise that we are living in a climate emergency and are dedicated to taking real action. Now is the time for Green policies and Green politics. We must not miss this opportunity to alter the course of our future.”
ANSWERS TO OUR QUESTIONS
What is your position on the proposed Graveney solar power station?
Cleve Hill Solar Farm caused a big debate within the Green Party. We took a lot of time to speak to a lot of different people to review information and to have in-depth discussions between ourselves. Obviously as a party we are hugely pro-solar and if we are going to meet emission targets to decarbonise our society then renewables need to be an essential part of that. There will always be some compromises with projects like this but the evidence around this development, particularly in terms of safety in regard to the li-ion batteries, the potential fires, the toxic chemicals, the acidity of the water that will result, seems not to be an if but a when. This means that we cannot support this particular development.
What’s the Green Party’s view on Brexit?
We support a people’s vote. We believe the big challenges such as climate change and migration do not stop at our borders. They are much better tackled internationally, working together with our partners. So being part of groups like the EU is really important. So that is where the Green Party is pro-Remain, however it doesn’t think the EU is perfect. But we can’t change them from the outside, we need to be at the table. So our policy is to remain and reform but we do believe in democracy, so if the majority of people do not want to be in the EU, we will support that.
What’s your view of future housebuilding and development in Faversham?
Yes, we need more housing, especially affordable housing. But that housing should not be built in the countryside where people will need to travel, overwhelmingly by car, to get to work, reinforcing traffic, pollution and congestion problems.
We need to build on brownfield sites, close to existing infrastructures. Many of these housing developments seem to be completely contradictory to the Government’s commitments to carbon emissions. They are short-sighted and thoughtless. Our Green Swale Borough Councillors, Tim Valentine and Alistair Gould, have already made sure that no more of these types of developments are allowed through Swale Borough Council.
In terms of what’s already here, we can introduce green lanes to enable safer and easier transport by bike and for pedestrians, bike lockers, offer free cycle training, enforcing 20’s Plenty and improving public transport. The Greens would move proposed investment in roads into public transport. We are also advocating for local government control of public transport and for existing housing stock to be retrofitted with energy efficiency improvements.
This constituency covers more than just Faversham, what would your message be to the more rural communities?
The Green Party are the party of our countryside. We support the restoration and rewilding of our green spaces and oppose big developments in rural areas in favour of thoughtful development of brownfield sites. We are dedicated to giving real power back to local government and local people to control their own public services. We support small businesses and are working with farmers to help British agriculture transition to more sustainable and environmentally-friendly forms of land use.
What are your thoughts on tactical voting here?
This is more than a Brexit election. This has to be much bigger. If we don’t stand, it would be a complete disgrace. This is a climate election. This may well be the last chance we get to take actual meaningful action on the climate emergency. We are the only party with a clear and costed plan to deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2030, not 2045, or 2050 as promised by other parties. We are the only party that is taking this issue really seriously. It is critical that we stand!
Faversham faces a health crisis with existing facilities struggling and a population set for huge expansion. What should be done?
This is us experiencing for ourselves the chronic underfunding that’s been going on over the past ten years. Every single one of us has a story about not being able to get a GP appointment. I am hearing that people cannot get access to medicines that they need and that staff are under increasing pressure. This is an essential service we will all need. It is ludicrous that we’re not funding it adequately.
Act on Climate Emergency
Green New Deal for economy
Give local government more power
Green and affordable housing
People’s vote on Brexit
Green public transport system
Greater protection for animal welfare
Opposed to Cleve Hill Solar Farm
Opposed to Lenham Heath development