Green vote of confidence in our city’s future - Lorna Slater

Last week, the people of Edinburgh elected a record number of Green councillors. It was a vote for local climate action and a fairer, greener future for our city.

Lorna Slater (Green MSP)
Lorna Slater (Green MSP)

The local elections were very positive for the Scottish Greens. We broke new ground and saw our first ever councillors elected in several local authorities. Shetland, Moray, the Borders, North Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire, East Lothian, South Lanarkshire and Argyll & Bute all elected Green councillors for the first time.

In Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands, people saw the positive change that Green councillors have brought to their communities and voted in record numbers for more of that change.

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Every vote for the Scottish Greens was a vote to support local services and invest in public transport and our environment. They were votes for less pollution, cleaner air and to ensure that the wellbeing of people and the planet are at the heart of everything we do.

With 10 councillors in our city chambers, there will be a bigger Green voice than ever in Edinburgh.

I am delighted that such fantastic community champions as Dan Heap, Julie Bandel, Alys Mumford, Ben Parker and Kayleigh O'Neill have been elected to join our team, and that they will be working for Edinburgh. Like the five incumbent Green councillors who were re-elected, every one of them will be an asset to our city.

This record result is a clear vote of confidence and a reflection on the vital work that Green councillors have already done here. It is a recognition that they have made a difference. Our team hasn't just talked about making the city a better place to live, they have actively delivered on it.

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They have fought to protect our services and secured a commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, with a robust delivery plan and milestones to do it. They have helped to secure better restrictions on short-term lets while reducing the use of single-use plastics and increasing recycling facilities.

The vote is also a reflection on the success we have had in Holyrood. With Greens in government we have turned words into action and delivered free bus travel for everyone under 22 as well as record investment in wildlife and nature, recycling and infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling.

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We have shown that when there are Green voices around the table we will work constructively to get results and deliver for our communities. It is what we are doing in the Scottish Parliament and it is what we will be doing in Councils across the country.

A lot of the most important policies introduced by the government are delivered in coordination with local authorities. Whether it is the investment we are making in active travel or the better rights that we are introducing for tenants, these require all levels of government to work together. These results mean that Green councillors will be working with Green MSPs to deliver Green priorities.

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I know that a lot of people in Edinburgh and across the country voted Green for the first time. It is a big step to change your vote, and we can't thank you enough.

We are grateful to you for your support and for putting your trust in us. The next five years will be vital for our city and our planet, and our team will do everything we can to deliver the change that you voted for.

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