Asked if the country can afford spending huge sums on addressing climate change, Andy Bentley is unequivocal.

“We can’t afford not to," says the Green Party's candidate for Swindon North at the General Election.

He added: “And more than that, the longer we put off taking it seriously, and doing something about it, the more it will cost us in the future.”

And Mr Bentley is fully behind the party’s insistence that economic and the environment cannot be separated – that environmental measures are a luxury only accessible in good economic times.

He says: “The old parties line up together behind the view that we can’t afford it. That it’s all about cutting taxes, and that everything else is just a burden.

“The Tory party fundamentally is opposed to the provision of public services by the state and wants to roll back those services.

“And it’s wrong to look at getting to net zero targets as just something that causes economic pain.

“If we don’t do something about it, we will have a huge price to pay down the line. We could suddenly be facing a global collapse that makes Covid look like a walk in the park.”

Mr Bentley, a 59-year-old IT consultant when not campaigning for election, says that the experience of the pandemic shows what can be done when the political will - internationally - is there.

He adds: “We were all pulling together with Covid. We found the money for the vaccination programme; we found the money for furlough. We can do it if we take it seriously. That’s how we should be looking at climate change.”

Despite the global nature of the issue, Mr Bentley’s party’s prescription for immediate addressing remains interestingly small and domestic – perhaps deliberately so to make it seem more achievable.

It’s all to do with making sure houses and other buildings are properly insulated, and energy efficient. Mr Bentley says: “We’d have a big programme of retrofitting houses to make them easier and cheaper to heat taking less energy and that would include things like schools and hospitals.

“And we’d have a national massive campaign to make sure this happened.”

The Greens also promise to build many more social rent houses and Mr Bentley says: ”These would be proper council houses, not the flats and houses called “affordable” which aren’t really.

“I grew up in a council house, and it meant my family wasn’t at the mercy of greedy landlords, putting up the rent, meaning we had to move around. I had a really stable foundation in my life, and it meant I was able to do well at school and be the first in my family to go to university.

“We’d build much more of them, and they would also be built to really high standards of energy efficiency. It would be housing that other people would be jealous of.”

The party says it would raise much of the money for its programme from increasing taxes on the wealthy. Mr Bentley says there will be a wealth tax on the very richest, those with assets over £10 million and adds: “The Green party is the only one being honest about what’s needed to be done and what’s needed to pay for it. The others think you can do things on the cheap and talk about cutting taxes.”

The opinion polls and those who work out likely seats based on the polls, when the interview is conducted, suggest Labour is heading for a landslide victory.

This gives Mr Bentley hope that he might spring a surprise.

He said: “It’s clear Labour are going to win with a big majority, so I think people should vote for what they believe in. They don’t have to vote tactically in Swindon North. I’d say to voters there, if you want change, vote for it. If you vote Labour hoping they’ll be better in power than they appear, you’ll only be disappointed.”

Other candidates standing in Swindon North are the Conservative MP Justin TomlinsonLabour’s Will Stone,  the Reform UK candidate Les  Willis, Independent candidate Debbie Hicks, the Trades Union and Socialist Coalition candidate Scott Hunter and Liberal Democrat Flo Clucas.