BBC Scotland’s flagship news show has become embroiled in a furious row after a debate with a climate change denier led to producers of The Nine cutting a segment about the thousands of Scottish schoolkids taking to the streets.

Green groups accused the show of breaching editorial guidelines by inviting a well-known climate change denier on air to take part in a discussion around last Friday’s day of action when pupils abandoned their classrooms to protest the inaction of the world’s governments.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland, Friends of the Earth, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the Scottish Green Party, 2050 Climate and Climate Action Scotland all refused to come on the show and debate climate change with Andrew Montford, from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWP).

BBC News has previously found itself in trouble for interviews with figures from the GWP, a shadowy organisation which refuses to reveal their big-money donors.

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In 2017, the Today programme had their knuckles rapped after failing to challenge GWP chairman Nigel Lawson, when he wrongly claimed that “official figures” showed that “during this past 10 years, if anything ... average world temperature has slightly declined”.

Last year, Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, wrote to all editorial staff warning them against kowtowing to global warming sceptics.

“Man-made climate change exists: If the science proves it we should report it,” Unsworth told her journalists.

She added: “To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.”

Last week, Extinction Rebellion Scotland said they “refused the invitation” to take part in The Nine “on the grounds of not sharing a platform with a climate denier”.

The National: Climate change denier Andrew Montford was invited on to the BBC showClimate change denier Andrew Montford was invited on to the BBC show

They added: “The BBC have today shown us why thousands of children and young people in Scotland and millions around the world are taking action: their voices are being ignored while the establishment continues to prioritise the interests of the rich and powerful that threaten their very future.”

Speaking to Bella Caledonia, Richard Dixon, from Friends of the Earth Scotland, accused the BBC of “institutional climate scepticism”.

“The Nine is not interviewing the two children that started the whole thing in Scotland, despite them offering to come to Glasgow for that. They are not asking the government if they are doing enough on climate change. No, they are giving air time to an infamous climate denier so he can say children shouldn’t be allowed to protest about climate change.

“The BBC’s editorial guidelines specifically forbid allowing climate deniers to espouse their disgusting lies on the BBC.

“So, BBC Scotland, are you just bad at your job or is institutional climate scepticism still lurking there?”

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell said it was “extremely disappointing” that “the BBC chose to platform a climate denier” on a day when thousands of young people were protesting.

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He added: “The BBC could have amplified these young voices, and ensured our governments were held to account. They could have held a debate about the most appropriate way to address the climate crisis. Instead, they chose to break their own editorial guidelines, and when they couldn’t get any reputable organisation to take part, they had to drop the package altogether.

“I hope the BBC reflect on what was a dereliction of duty on their part and ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Reporting Scotland, the BBC’s news website and radio news shows all carried coverage of the strikes.

A BBC Scotland spokesman said: “We regularly try to set up items on a variety of topics which sometimes don’t get to air for one reason or another. As happens with live TV, running orders change and on this occasion we ran the story as a straight news item.”