TRANSPORT and waste management should be the priority for council election candidates as Scotland approaches a “significant” moment in tackling the climate crisis, environmental activists have said.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland have urged councillor hopefuls, cross party, to focus on issues relating to global warming as the campaign trail kicks off.

With parties launching their manifesto’s this week and four weeks to go to the poll - the campaign group has said that the upcoming vote is pivotal in how Scotland tackles the climate crisis going forward.

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Councillors are elected to a five-year term, and will be a key part in implementing the Scottish Government’s net-zero targets, as well as with each local area’s individual issues.

Policies such as setting up publicly owned bus companies are being encouraged, as emissions from transport make up a third of Scotland’s carbon output.

As are things like active travel, with councils urged to make use of funding from the Scottish Government to prioritise safer walking and cycling routes across the country.

The National: Climate change activists made the plea as the local election campaign gets into full swingClimate change activists made the plea as the local election campaign gets into full swing

The Scottish Government provides funding for active travel schemes and goes directly to councils. The fund was increased from £24 million to £35m in 2022/23.

Household waste is a big issue too, as FoE Scotland estimates that Scotland burns almost as much of its household waste as it sends to landfill.

The National have investigated this issue before, finding that Glasgow City Council had the highest carbon impact generated by household waste over Scotland’s other 31 local authorities.

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And campaigners added that Scotland has one of the poorest recycling rates in the UK, which fell to 42% between 2019 and 2020.

Mary Church, head of campaigns at FoE Scotland, said: “These elections are being contested against the backdrop of a climate and nature emergency.

“Many of the powers to drive action on the climate crisis sit with local councils, which is why this vote matters so much.

The National: Church encouraged voters to raise climate issues with candidatesChurch encouraged voters to raise climate issues with candidates

“Councillors must put people and the planet at the head of all the decisions they make.

“This means making it easier and more affordable to take public transport by running services in the interest of passengers rather than shareholders, helping people to reduce and recycle their waste, and planning for the vital phase-out of incineration.”

Church encouraged voters to talk to their local candidates to build pressure for climate action.

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She added: “Over the coming weeks, people can get in touch with candidates to hear what they have to say on these climate-critical issues and build pressure for ambition and urgency at the local level during the next five years.”

The campaign group has released a manifesto for local authorities ahead of the election, which can be viewed here.

FoE Scotland is not endorsing any political party ahead of the poll.