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Lib Dem leader in green pledge for tree to be planted for every citizen

It is one of a series of environmental pledges the party has made in its manifesto for this week’s council elections (David Cheskin/PA)
It is one of a series of environmental pledges the party has made in its manifesto for this week’s council elections (David Cheskin/PA)

Council chiefs have been urged to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, as Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton called for a tree to be planted for every citizen in the country.

The Lib Dems want a focus on increased planting, saying there should be more community orchards and native trees planted across the country.

It is one of a series of environmental pledges the party has made in its manifesto for this week’s council elections.

The Liberal Democrats also want energy use to be cut in local authority buildings, for action to be taken to protect green belt areas, and “substantial measures” to reduce waste.

Every Lib Dem councillor elected in this week’s election will be a ‘champion’ for greener communities, Alex Cole-Hamilton said (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Maily/PA)

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “I want to see action at every level of government to move Scotland towards net zero. Planting a tree for every single Scot would be a powerful symbol of that ambition.

“Every Scottish Liberal Democrat councillor elected on May 5 will be a champion for greener and cleaner communities.”

His comments came as he insisted it was “unconscionable” that Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP backed plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Scotland’s climate targets are among the strongest in the world because of the work done by Scottish Liberal Democrats to lift ambitions.

“Sadly these targets have been missed for years because SNP ministers refuse to get serious about the climate emergency. It’s unconscionable that they are still backing a third runway at Heathrow.

“Meanwhile the Green Party have abandoned their manifesto promise to reduce rail fares and received a ticking off from Greenpeace over their defence of the Scottish Government’s policies on oil and gas.”

SNP MSP Rona Mackay said the “five million or so” trees that would be planted for every citizen did not match current commitments on tree planting.

Ms Mackay added: “Five million or so trees are a reflection of the dearth of Lib Dem ambition when it comes to climate change. Clyde Climate Forest will plant 18 million trees over the next decade in the Glasgow City region alone.

“And anyone with any understanding of the task ahead would agree that planting must be approached with ‘right tree, right place, right reason’ ethos.

“While Alex Cole-Hamilton concocts half-baked plans just so he can issue a press release, the SNP will continue to strive towards its world-leading climate ambitions.”