NICOLA Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Government's stance on the expansion of Heathrow Airport in the face of climate concerns.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie raised the matter at First Minister's Questions in Holyrood.

The Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with London Heathrow Airport in 2016, backing a third runway in exchange for commitments to Scotland, including creating up to 16,000 new jobs in England.

Rennie asked the SNP leader why she is continuing to review the issue, instead of pulling support.

Rennie said: "This is urgent, this is a crisis right now. If her MPs haven't supported it at Westminster, why is she still supporting Heathrow expansion here in Scotland?

"Climate change has brought Zambia to the brink of famine, Australia has been burning since September, the ice caps continue to melt.

"Yet the First Minister continues to support Heathrow expansion."

Sturgeon said: "We took the view as the Scottish Government –because we're not in control of the decision about a third runway at Heathrow – if it is going ahead then Scotland should seek to maximise economic impact and benefit from that.

"But the climate emergency, the updated advice from the Committee on Climate Change, our updated responsibilities, not just to meet but to exceed the obligations in the Paris Agreement, meant we need to review all of that.

"That's exactly what the Government is doing."

She added that having set a target for achieving net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 "we have to take the action now to ensure that we can meet them".

Sturgeon pointed out within recent weeks Rennie's party backed legislation in the Scottish Parliament meaning the Scottish Government requires to bring forward an updated draft climate change plan by the end of April.

She said the Government is current doing this, and questioned why Rennie's party opposes measures to tackle climate change such as the workplace parking levy aimed at encouraging workers to leave their cars at home.