The Green Party, whose conference begins today in Weston-super-Mare, has reached a critical stage in its development. High oil prices, alarm among scientists at the rate of global warming, and popular fears about the degradation of our environment mean green issues are at the forefront of the public's concerns. This has helped the Green Party. Its task now is to prove it is able to reach out to the broader electorate. The Green Party has shown this is possible in London, Brighton and Brussels. That serious approach must now be applied in the shires. If the will is there, the Greens can be more than just a pressure group.