TREE CONSERVATION: LibDems call for greener communities and a tree for every citizen

By Bill Heaney

It’s a pity they aren’t fielding any candidates in Thursday’s council elections in West Dunbartonshire – although they will be in Helensburgh and Lomond.

The people in Garshake, Brucehill and elsewhere in town, where wood chopper SNP council leader Jonathan McColl rules the roost, will have a wry smile on their face when they read the news that Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has called for local authorities to play their part in tackling the climate emergency and asked for a tree to be planted for every citizen in Scotland. 

Tree chopper Jonathan McColl, LibDem leader Alex Hamilton and the hawthorn hedge cruelly cut down at Garshake. Above, the Clerkhill site where trees have been cut down despite assurances. 

While the arrogant Cllr McColl claims to be a conservationist, his council have stood by and done nothing while trees at the old  Clerkhill convent site have been given the chop despite assurances that they would be protected.

Open spaces in towns and housing estates and even East End Park – the old Swing Park between Silverton and Glasgow Road – have been disgracefully neglected.

As I said at the time, one word from our basket case council and people do what they like.

One word from the electorate and the council does what it likes.

The beautiful hawthorn hedge which ran along the periphery of the new Dumbarton Cemetery on the road up to the Long Crags has also been cruelly cut back by the SNP who stood aside and let it happen.

And some residents in High Overtoun have had the spectacular view from their windows blocked by the building works in the old council offices car park at Garshake.

The LibDems’ local election manifesto commits to:

  • Establish local Climate Change Committees and Just Transition plans. 
  • Cut energy use across local authority buildings.  
  • Plant more trees and community orchards through a “tree for every citizen” initiatives focused on native species.  
  • Protect greenbelts and gaps between settlements for the long-term benefit of local communities, the climate and nature, including through a brownfield-first approach to planning. 
  • Preserve parks and playing fields as important community green space. 
  • campaign for the creation of a new restitution order, the proceeds of which would help victims with the costs of clearing up fly-tipping and increase efforts to catch tippers.  
  • Support substantial measures to reduce waste and embrace the development of a circular economy. 

Alex 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.

“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.

“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 5th May will be a champion for greener and cleaner communities.”


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