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North Dorset’s newly-selected Green Party candidate Ken Huggins has been giving his views on climate change and the environment ahead of his appearance at a public hustings event on 21 November in Shaftesbury.

Mr Huggins, who lives at Hazelbury Bryan, is calling for ‘urgent and appropriate action on the climate and ecological crisis, resolving Brexit through a referendum on any proposed settlement with the EU, and the provision of genuinely affordable local housing and the creation of green jobs.’

He said he is ‘deeply concerned at the total inadequacy of present government policies to address the crises of climate change and environmental destruction.

‘The five-year term of the next parliament covers half the remaining time the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given us to prevent runaway global warming.

‘To achieve this the next UK government will need to take the issue far more seriously than our present government has done.’

As an MP, Mr Huggins, who has lived in Dorset for 11 years and has been a parish councillor since 2013, said he would ‘seek to implement Green Party policies that work for the common good.’

The climate and ecological crisis would be his top priority, he said, including ‘the development of a genuinely sustainable local economy, the provision of genuinely affordable low-energy housing, better funding of public services and transport, and aiming to make Dorset the first county to be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.’

He added he is ‘totally opposed to fracking because of the huge environmental damage and health risks entailed’, and he would ‘seek to have all council funds divested from fossil fuel industries.’

Mr Huggins said he joined the Green Party in 2014 because of his ‘growing awareness of the negative influence of corporate and vested interests in UK politics, and the failure of the political system to represent the whole electorate.’

As a parish councillor and co-organiser of Resurgence Dorset, a Dorset environmental group and transition project, he has been promoting projects such as turning neglected parish land into wildlife habitat and assessing local green spaces for protection under a neighbourhood plan.

Mr Huggins, who describes himself as ‘recently retired’ after careers as a mining engineer and hypnotherapist, said he considers farming to be the single most important occupations but one that ‘has not been appropriately supported.’

‘The UK relies too heavily on imported food, and many modern farming practices have played a large part in the degradation of the environment and contributed to climate change,’ he said.

‘I would work hard to reverse this, with particular attention given to supporting smaller scale farmers and enabling them to adopt the organic forms of farming that are needed to address the ecological crisis.’

The climate change hustings are at Shaftesbury town hall on Thursday 21 November at 7pm, organised by the Planet Shaftesbury environment lobby.

For more information on this event see www.planetshaftesbury.org.

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