Sally Bunce has launched her campaign as the Green Party candidate for Tees Valley Mayor with a pledge to prioritise honesty and transparency.

The 55-year-old mother of two has been a tireless environmental and community campaigner.

Sally, who lives in Easington in Cleveland, will use the office to fund sustainable improvements for the area.

She spent 17 years in the Cleveland and North Yorkshire police forces and she believes the skills she learnt there will be invaluable.

The 55-year-old said: "I promise to use the Mayor’s power and funding to create sustainable improvements that benefit all the people in the area.

"This Government finds millions of pounds for huge vanity projects which matter little to most people, while funding for lifesaving health facilities, care for the old and young and other essential services has been slashed during the last 13 years.

"In the Tees Valley, almost a third of the children of working parents now live in poverty. Crime rates here are among the highest in England.

"But the Tories think we don’t care as long as we don’t have to trek to Newcastle or Manchester to fly to Bulgaria for holidays - which we can no longer really afford anyway.

"As for the Teesworks fiasco, the Government specifically excluded several concerning aspects from the investigation. I want a fully independent review of these and other Tees Valley projects which residents and businesses report to me."

Ms Bunce believes that people have lost trust in politicians and that the Green Party are different.

She said: "We work alongside ordinary people, not well-connected businessmen and Government spinners, to solve real problems the other parties have callously caused or made worse.

"For instance, when will those politicians wake up to the fact that Britain – and the North East in particular – should already have invested properly in green energy and the technologies which will provide well-paid jobs for millions around the world long into the future?

"In contrast, Greens’ policies tackle problems effectively but do not harm the planet."

The former policewoman emphasised that she would prioritise communities not profits if she won the election.

She said: "I have been involved with many other local campaigns supporting fights to safeguard communities.

"Time and again I have witnessed profits for wealthy businesses and organisations being prioritised over the health and wellbeing of local people, small businesses and our fragile environment and wildlife. If I win I can stop this. And I can win!

"Unlike others, the Green Party is not financed by special interest sectors. Our funds – and our policies – come from our members and supporters nationwide.

"People can find out more about both on our national and local websites and Facebook pages. They will be able to follow my campaign on Facebook at Sally Bunce for Tees Valley Mayor, too.

"If elected, I will be beholden to no one except the voters of the Tees Valley. I promise transparency, honesty and integrity coupled with an unrivalled determination to create a future for them which prioritises the security, health and well-being to which everyone, rich or poor, is entitled."

The Tees Valley Mayoral election will be held on May 2, 2024. 

Ms Bunce will be running against the incumbent Lord Ben Houchen who is running for a third term in office.

Simon Thorley will be running as the Liberal Democrat candidate and Chris McEwan for Labour.