We know that tackling the climate emergency needs real leadership, ambition and action at a local level. This will require integrating climate adaptation and mitigation into all aspects of our life - not as an afterthought. Green Councillors will ensure that ambitious targets and plans are in place to become net-zero and, crucially, that action is taken in a way that considers the needs of all of society.
Since 2017 Green Councillors have
Secured unprecedented commitments to tackle the climate crisis
- Secured Glasgow’s 2030 net-zero target.
- Persuaded Highland Council to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency and set a target of being carbon neutral by 2025.
- Led Edinburgh Council in declaring a Climate Emergency and setting a target of achieving net-zero by 2030 with interim targets and an action plan.
Led urgent action on the climate crisis
- Secured a £10m Climate Action Fund in Glasgow, to invest in renewable energy, green transport and restoring nature.
- Proposed a “Green budget for climate and social justice” in Edinburgh.
- Helped win a Climate Change Officer for Orkney Islands Council.
Stopped climate-damaging investment
- Secured divestment from fossil fuels in Glasgow.
- Won agreement for a new Responsible Investment Statement in Highland & Islands policy, which includes divestment from fossil fuels.
- Increased recycling investment for flats and tenements and moved bulk uplift charging to a fairer per-item system in Glasgow.
- Secured agreement to install recycling facilities in Edinburgh Council buildings, reducing Edinburgh Council’s use of disposable plastics including in school packed lunches.
MOVING TO A NET-ZERO SCOTLAND
Setting targets for achieving net-zero is an important first step in tackling the climate crisis, but it is only the first step. Councils need detailed and ambitious plans for how to transform all aspects of their services and decision-making to achieve net-zero. This means doing things differently in planning, transport, waste management, housing and so much more.
We know this can be done in a way that helps local communities thrive, with warmer homes, people-friendly streets and better local services. Proposals for how we will achieve net-zero in all of these sectors are included throughout this manifesto.
Green Councillors will:
- Ensure councils set ambitious targets for achieving net-zero and develop detailed, robust and integrated plans for achieving these targets.
- Support local authority-wide carbon budgeting to help meet climate targets in the most cost-effective way and to ensure accountability to the public.
- Reduce energy use in council buildings, with delivery of energy efficient and zero carbon emissions heating; support homeowners to retrofit their homes, saving energy and money; and promote the use of local heat networks, all supported by our work in government on net-zero buildings.
- Look at the potential for use of council land for renewable energy generation, especially for heat.
- Rethink the approach to street design and development planning, making walking, wheeling and cycling easier, safer and more efficient, and reducing demand for cars and parking in our towns and city centres.
- Make public transport a practical alternative to car use, by improving bus services, supporting railway re-openings, integrating ticketing and bringing local bus services into public or social ownership.
- Ensure the indirect impacts of council business on the climate are reduced, by pushing for divestment from fossil fuels and the arms trade and by carrying out a climate assessment of council procurement and any public funding of arms-length organisations.
- Ensure that transitioning to net-zero is equitable and results in a just transition, by working closely with partners and local communities.
MANAGING LAND FOR THE FUTURE
Councils have a key role to play in tackling the climate and nature emergencies in the way they manage land. Working with nature we can create places that are rich in wildlife, help us manage water and pollution sustainably and benefit people. This should be part of a long-term approach to working with nature but requires a radical change in approach now. Scottish Greens recognise that for people to thrive, they need nature. Green spaces within our cities, towns and villages should improve health and wellbeing, add value to our lives and provide places for wildlife to flourish.
Green Councillors will:
- Place councils’ duties to conserve and restore biodiversity and tackle the climate emergency at the heart of how they manage land and carry out their work.
- Ensure every council has an ambitious plan in place by 2025 to create a Local Nature Network, that sets out the enhancement and restoration needed to deliver a nature-rich connected network of habitats across the whole of Scotland.
- Commit their council to Local Nature Network delivery by transforming management of council land so it maximises natural carbon capture and becomes nature-rich, with wildflower meadows and verges that benefit pollinators, tree planting and wetlands all creating spaces for nature within our communities.
- Support habitat restoration by others, particularly where it benefits communities and enriches biodiversity.
- Ensure councils invest in the staff they need and in existing community expertise required to manage land well, advise others and engage communities actively in this process.
- Protect and invest in parks and green spaces, providing places for people to access the outdoors, benefiting their health and mental well-being, and for wildlife to flourish.
- Ensure councils use nature-based solutions to manage flooding, coastal erosion, urban drainage and pollution wherever possible, and invest in the expertise needed to do this.
- Encourage local food production through increasing the accessibility of land and support available to community gardens, allotments, school growing projects and more.
- Support local consultations and contributions to the Land Reform Bill and Regional Land Use Partnerships Pilot, and the rollout of the National Register of Ancient Woodlands.
- Champion sustainable land use, including crofting and small-scale farming, promoting the contributions these make to the local economy as well as environmental enhancement.
A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Scottish Greens are leading Scotland’s shift to a circular economy in government, banning single-use plastics, delivering record amounts for councils to support their recycling efforts and launching a major review into incineration.
Reducing waste with less packaging, encouraging more reuse and recycling means we can avoid incineration, save the cost and environmental impact of landfill and safeguard natural resources for the future. Council investment in bin collections and street cleaning is vital to make our neighbourhoods more attractive.
Green Councillors will:
- Ensure all councils have a zero-waste plan by 2025.
- Improve bin collection services, extend doorstep recycling to include textiles, promote composting and provide a rapid response service to deal with overflowing recycling containers.
- Establish grant programmes to support local deposit return schemes and encourage communities to develop, repair, reuse and community recycling networks and organisations.
- Support local businesses to reduce packaging and find recyclable and biodegradable alternatives.
- Support communities to develop litter prevention plans involving all relevant local partners, enhancing community warden services and taking firm action against fly-tipping and dog-waste problems. Increase the number of environmental health officers, explore ways to improve evidence gathering, and lobby for changes to national legislation so it is easier to prosecute serious fly-tipping. We will also support the case for a separate Environmental Court system to improve the enforcement of environmental protection laws.
- Oppose the large-scale incineration of waste and plan for a just transition for workers in this industry.