So it’s just four weeks to the General Election and, at last, we have the opportunity for the Forest of Dean to set aside the broken politics of the Conservatives and Labour and vote for real hope and real change.

The case for change is obvious, and the polls are showing that we will soon be shot of this awful Conservative government. But the incremental change Labour has put on the table just isn’t going to cut it to get this country back on track. More Green MPs in Parliament will drive that real change forward.

Because change in itself is not enough. It has to be real change that offers real hope. Half measures and broken pledges will not do. And the voters I am speaking to are excited that they now have a genuine opportunity to do that here in the Forest.

In the 2023 elections the Greens won the popular vote in the Forest of Dean, with 25% of the vote, just slightly ahead of the Conservatives. Labour managed just 9%. In other words, in the Forest of Dean, Labour are not in the running.

The current unfair First Past the Post electoral system (which the Labour leadership is refusing to change) means that Labour voters will need to vote Green if they want to get rid of the Conservatives. A vote for Labour would be a wasted vote.

Over the past five years we have increased the number of Green councillors across the country five-fold. From here in the Forest, to councils in East Anglia; from Newcastle to Hastings, Greens are on the up. And, with more Green MPs in the next Parliament, what you will get is real hope and real change.

A Green MP for the Forest of Dean will push the next government for bold action to achieve the real changes that are needed to confront the big challenges our country faces – and people know that.

For instance only the Green Party is prepared to re-nationalise the water companies to stop them discharging sewage into the Wye and Severn.

Free healthcare is a fundamental principle held dear by people up and down the country and we would make sure it is funded properly so that everybody can see an NHS dentist and doctor when they need one.

We will make the tax system fairer so that we can afford to invest in the people who work in our hospitals and surgeries, so that they stay here, bringing down waiting lists so people no longer miss out on life-saving operations.

And of course people know they can trust the Greens to offer real hope on climate and nature. Real change means not cosying up to the fossil fuel lobby and not abandoning commitments on climate targets as both the Conservatives and Labour have done.

Only by having more Greens in Parliament can we be confident that we will have strong voices to stop the delayers and backsliding on urgent climate action.

Cllr Adrian Birch is the leader of the Forest of Dean District Council but writes this column in a personal capacity. He is not speaking on behalf of the council.