Ouseburn councillor opens Green Party conference in Harrogate
Last updated Oct 1, 2022

The Green Party autumn conference was opened this afternoon by Harrogate man Arnold Warneken, North Yorkshire County Council councillor for Ouseburn.

Cllr Warneken was elected in May with 69% of the vote and he gave a passionate speech to delegates at Harrogate Convention Centre.

He recalled how he was first elected as a councillor 32 years ago to the then-Harrogate District Council.

In those days, he was the only Green Party councillor in the north of England.

After his recent return to local politics, he said the five Greens elected to the county council in May were “already starting to make a difference”. He accused the Tory-led council of “procrastinating” on the climate emergency.

Cllr Warneken also had some sharp words for Harrogate Spring Water and its plan to fell trees in Rotary Wood to expand its bottling plant.

He said:

“At the pump rooms, people came from all over the country to have our foul-tasting and smelly water heal them. It was dispensed in a ladle by Betty Lupton.

“However, 100 years later Betty Lupton has been replaced by Danone. Her ladle has been replaced by millions of plastic bottles produced by Harrogate Spring Water and Danone before being sent all over the world. Shame on them.”

He was followed by a speech from Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay.

The three-day conference ends on Sunday.

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The Stray Ferret spoke to Cllr Warneken beforehand where he said he was “proud and honoured” to open the event.

Cllr Warneken added:

“We are at a turning point in Green politics. In 2018, we had 150 councillors, now in 2022 we have over 500. We are hoping we can get somebody to help Caroline Lucas MP in Parliament.

“We have Liberal Democrat councillor Pat Marsh speaking here on Sunday. That’s the way politics has to move forward. We’re hoping for a hung parliament so we can introduce PR. The future’s bright, the future’s green.”