THE LibDems have said the independence white papers are a “waste of trees” following The National’s exclusive story that one is due to be published in the “coming weeks”.

On the latest episode of the Holyrood Weekly podcast, Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn revealed that the latest publication in the Building a New Scotland series will be released in the “coming weeks”.

However, one Unionist party did not take the news particularly well, sending out a press release following our front page story, saying that the initiative is a “waste of trees”.

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Willie Rennie, the party’s former leader and now education, economy and communities spokesperson, said: “Never before will so many trees have been sacrificed in the pursuit of such a pointless exercise. With the party under police investigation and the government still incapable of even building a ferry you would think they’d have other things on their mind.

"No matter how many taxpayer funded reports they produce they still won’t have the faintest clue what they would do on pensions, currency or borders.

"Instead the Scottish Government should be focused on helping the 1 in 7 Scots on NHS waiting lists, tackling the cost of living crisis and stopping sewage pouring into our rivers."

We previously told how 200 hard copies of each of the current three published papers had been ordered by the Scottish Government, with 258 copies provided to members of the public after they requested a printout.

The documents are also available online, and it has been confirmed that the first three papers have been viewed more than 203,500 times, with more than 35,500 PDF downloads.

Hepburn, who is leading on the white paper series under First Minister Humza Yousaf, did not confirm the topic area of the next document, as he said he wanted to update Holyrood on the latest developments first.

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Asked when we can expect another paper and what it would focus on, Hepburn said: “Given government is accountable and responsible to parliament, and that’s a responsibility I take seriously, it’s incumbent on me to recognise we should say to parliament what the next subject material of the forthcoming prospectus papers will be.

“But what I can say in terms of broad timescale is we’re probably talking in the coming weeks that we’ll publish the next one.”

The Scottish Government has released three papers entitled “A Stronger Economy with Independence”, “Independence in the Modern World” and “Renewing Democracy Through Independence”.

You can listen to the latest episode of Holyrood Weekly and The National’s website each Friday afternoon.