THE Liberal Democrat group in Monmouthshire has said it is putting the green agenda at the heart of its policies for the forthcoming election.

Three key policies have been outlined by the party ahead of the local elections on May 5 – the green agenda, supporting communities to improve town centres and building sustainable housing.

Jo Watkins, leader of the group, said the green agenda is “at the heart of it all”.

“We do feel that, although people are worried about lots of things, the climate crisis is going to be one of the key issues that has to be addressed by a council because, obviously, a council has to look to the future,” she said.

“It’s not just the cutting of emissions, we actually have to look at the fact people are experiencing the effects of extreme weather conditions.

“Many of our communities are experiencing flooding issues either from the rivers or from drains blocking up and other issues we get.

“The council now needs to look into what we do to protect our communities from the fact some of these changes are now happening, people are experiencing them.”

The group is also campaigning to improve town centres, supporting local shops and businesses.

Ms Watkins says the pandemic has also highlighted issues of loneliness in communities – and the Liberal Democrat group has pledged to find ways to support those who may be impacted.

Providing more sustainable housing is the group’s third key policy.

Housing needs to be ‘targeted’, with proper infrastructure behind it and meeting the demands of people in the county, Ms Watkins says.

“We also want to look at things like Community Land Trusts which will allow people to have genuinely affordable housing to buy,” she said.

“When a council talks about affordable housing, it’s often talking about affordable housing to rent, so we will go to a housing association, but what a lot of people want is to be able to buy their own home.”

The group is also supporting a proposal for the council to set up an arms-length house-building company to provide more affordable homes.

The council also needs to ensure developers include more affordable housing as part of new housing developments, it says.

But how would the council be different if the Liberal Democrats returned a majority?

Ms Watkins says it would be “a very kind council”.

“It would be a council that really focussed on the needs of those communities and you would find that it was a council that really listened to the people of Monmouthshire,” she added.

“One of the things I have been trying to work on behind the scenes many times is to get more local people involved in local politics, understanding the issues and the decision-making.

“I think you would find it’s a listening council and a very involved council.”

Here are all the Liberal Democract candidates in Monmouthshire:

Bulwark and Thornwell

Number of seats: two

  • Anthea Madeline Dewhurst


Number of seats: one

  • Phil Hobson

Caldicot Castle

Number of seats: one

  • Jo Watkins

Caldicot Cross

Number of seats: one

  • Kerry Joanne Wreford-Bush


Number of seats: one

  • Vicky Hepburn-John

Chepstow Castle and Larkfield

Number of seats: two

  • Jez Becker
  • Dominic Power


Number of seats: one

  • Didier Duchet


Number of seats: one

  • Moira Coleman


Number of seats: one

  • Caroline Frances Duchet

Gobion Fawr

Number of seats: one

  • Steve Pritchard

Llanbadoc and Usk

Number of seats: two

  • Elliot Hepburn-John


Number of seats: two

  • Tony Redhead

Magor East with Undy

Number of seats: two

  • Mark James Hitchins


Number of seats: one

  • Ian Prince

Mitchel Troy and Trellech United

Number of seats: two

  • Martin Oliver Blakebrough

Mount Pleasant

Number of seats: one

  • Emma Louise Becker


Number of seats: one

  • Evan Roberts

Pen Y Fal

Number of seats: one

  • Tudor Jones


Number of seats: one

  • Tim Wreford-Bush


Number of seats: one

  • Nick Ramsay


Number of seats: one

  • Pete Milmine


Number of seats: one

  • Cris Watkins

St Arvans

Number of seats: one

  • Reuben Blakebrough

St Kingsmark

Number of seats: one

  • Jenni Brews

For a full list of candidates standing in the council elections click here.

  • This is part of a series of articles profiling parties standing in Gwent's council areas in next month's elections.