The Scottish Greens today (3 Jan) confirmed that representatives from the party have met senior management from the BBC to raise concerns about proposed guidance for the Holyrood election which risks relegating the Scottish Greens from broadcast coverage and debates.Alison Johnstone_small

The party has also launched an online petition to make its case.

The BBC Trust, which is consulting on its proposals until 15 January, plans to give all Holyrood parties except the Scottish Greens "broadly similar levels of coverage" across radio, TV and online.

The Trust says "where the larger parties are featuring regularly, the Greens should have a minimum of one appearance a week on each appropriate programme strand."

Analysis provided to the BBC by the Scottish Greens shows:

-Scottish Greens polling at 8 per cent on average in 2015, nearly double the 4.4 per cent achieved in 2011 and well ahead of Lib Dems' average of 5.7 per cent. Greens have consistently outpolled Lib Dems for over two years.

-All indications are that there will be a record number of Green MSPs elected in May, with the average projection for 2015 being 9 seats (using the Scotland Votes calculator from Weber Shandwick). This is again comfortably ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

-Only five parties have won continuous representation in the Scottish Parliament - the five currently represented - including the Scottish Greens.

-Ipsos-Mori regularly poll on the approval ratings of Holyrood party leaders, including Patrick Harvie, who is shown to be by far the most popular opposition leader, well ahead of Willie Rennie, Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale.

-The Scottish Greens have over 9,000 members across the country. Most recent figures for the Lib Dems suggest 2,800.

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said:

"Only five parties have won continuous representation in the Scottish Parliament and the Greens are one of them. It is disappointing that the BBC Trust's proposed guidance does not reflect this.

"Polling clearly shows the Greens on course to outnumber the Lib Dems, so the proposal to give them parity with the other three parties but relegate us does not add up. Given the significant role Scottish Greens are likely to play in the next parliament, the public deserve to hear and scrutinise what we have to say.

"After two years of Patrick Harvie regularly appearing in referendum debates he is now rated Scotland's most popular opposition politician, and the BBC would do well to reflect on this.

"The conversation we had recently with BBC management was constructive and we look forward to formally submitting our case to the consultation. We'd urge anyone who believes the Scottish Greens deserve fair treatment from the BBC in the run up to and during the 2016 election to join us in making this case."