Green councillors are playing a vital role in city life - Lorna Slater

This May’s local elections will be vital to building fairer, greener communities in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

Lorna Slater (Green)
Lorna Slater (Green)

Last Thursday I visited Linlithgow to launch the Scottish Greens local authority election campaign. It was a great morning and an opportunity to meet some of our inspiring candidates and activists from across the country.

The election, which takes place on 5 May, will be vital to the direction of our recovery from the last two years of pandemic.

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This is a pivotal time for our politics and our city. We are living through a cost-of-living crisis and are facing a climate catastrophe. Every level of government has a role to play in ensuring that we rise to the challenges and ensure a better future. That is why we are asking people to think globally but act locally by voting for the Scottish Greens.

This year we will be standing 238 candidates across Scotland, including 17 here in Edinburgh. Our candidates come from lots of different backgrounds. They look like the city they want to represent, with more people from underrepresented groups standing: including women, LGBTQ+ people and disabled candidates.

Every single one of them will work to tackle poverty and pollution and push for a recovery and services that work for people and the planet.

Our team of councillors will act as advocates for their communities and deliver local solutions to the challenges we face, while building on the great work that Green councillors have already brought to Edinburgh.

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We’ve had Green councillors here since 2007, when we secured three. We worked hard and built on that, and, in the last election, in 2017, we achieved a record eight Green councillors.

Our team of Greens worked positively and constructively by getting stuck-in and using their positions to put the climate crisis at the forefront of the agenda.

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Green councillors ensured that Edinburgh City Council declared a Climate Emergency and set a target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030, with interim targets and a bold action plan. They secured agreement for proper recycling facilities and reduced single-use plastics across schools and other public buildings.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city, but it also has huge levels of poverty and inequality. That is why Green councillors have worked to protect local services and ensure that all external contractors for care work were paid at least the living wage.

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With more Green councillors we can get even more done. All our existing councillors and new candidates are well connected to their communities and working to make our city a better place.

For the first time ever, we have Greens in our Scottish Government, where we are delivering free bus travel for young people, record investment in active travel, nature recovery and recycling. We have secured the biggest teacher recruitment drive since 2007 and so much more. All this vital work needs Green councillors in our community to help in delivering it.

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Nobody stands to be a councillor because they think it will be easy, they do it because they care about our city and about our future. Your vote will have a big impact and can make a big difference. So, think global, act local and vote for the Scottish Greens on May 5.

Lorna Slater is a Lothian Green MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity