General Election 2017: Green space at heart of battle for Worsley and Eccles South seat

It might be a straight race between Labour and the Conservatives in Worsley and Eccles South this week, but it’s green issues which are at the heart of the two campaigns.

Labour’s Barbara Keeley – Leeds-born but a former student at Salford University – won a majority of 5,946 at the last election. However, her party isn’t taking anything for granted this time around.

An advocate for protecting local green spaces, Mrs Keeley has worked alongside local residents to campaign against the continued extraction of peat at Chat Moss, which is a lowland bog of unique habitat south of Eccles.

Since first opposing exploratory drilling at Barton Moss, she also continues to fight against fracking in the area.

Her opponent on Thursday is well known to both her and the constituents.



As a young candidate at the age of 34, Iain Lindley has been a councillor for Walkden South since June 2004 and stood as the Conservative candidate for Worsley and Eccles South in both 2010 and 2015.

Mr Lindley notes that the need to create new jobs and skill sets for local people could be absolutely key in Worsley and Eccles South.

He explained to MM: “We can only do that with a strong economy and that means having a Conservative government creating the best deal for Brexit and making sure that we can access jobs and can continue to prosper locally and nationally.”

Mr Lindley also mentioned the need for further expansion of transportation links in the area.

He said: “Some of the big priorities are making sure we improve our transport infrastructure and tackle the congestion problems that we’ve got in Walkden and Worsley.”



Balancing the economy with environmental conservation is also important, such as campaigning to safeguard the Moss in Irlam, Cadishead and Barton.

“Protecting the local environment and fighting against the Labour Council’s plans to use huge swaths of our green fields and green belt for inappropriate development is another key priority that I’ve been speaking to a lot of people about.”

Mr Lindley appreciates the need for economic growth and prosperity while creating a sustainable social system, with regards to health, social care and education.

He added: “They go hand-in-hand. It’s not a case of either-or. We will make sure we have the investment and support in our health and social care system.

“We need to make sure we continue to fund health services and that means a strong economy because without a strong economy you’ve not got the money to balance it.



“If we don’t provide the jobs for local people and the skills people need to access jobs then we are not going to have the resources available to put the funding into local hospitals.”

When asked about getting young people involved in politics, he told MM: “I’m a local lad. I’ve grown up here. I’m really passionate for getting local young people involved.

“I’ve been back to my old school and Salford City College to speak to them over the years. I want to make sure everyone is enthused about this election regardless of their age.

“Local schools and college gave me a great start in life and I want to make sure the next generation of young people have the same opportunity.”

Image courtesy of Iain Lindley via Twitter, with thanks.

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