ENVIRONMENTALISTS have demanded the Scottish Government introduce tough new green legislation when it unveils its new priorities next week.

In its Programme for Government, which sets the legislative agenda for the coming year, Holyrood ministers have been told to commit to including eco tests on all policy and investment decisions, as well as laying the groundwork for major environmental schemes to reduce emissions.

The Climate Emergency Response Group has also called for the Government to give powers to local authorities to take more measures to combat climate change and bring in new policies to discourage car use.

The Scottish Government is aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Its Programme for Government is expected to be announced when the Scottish Parliament returns from the summer break next week.

Morag Watson, the director of policy at Scottish Renewables and a member of the Climate Emergency Response group’s steering group said: “A stable and consistent policy and regulatory environment and a clear commitment to delivering net zero and climate resilience are essential to build investor confidence and a willingness on the part of businesses to act.

“We see action on [the Climate Emergency Response Group’s] proposals as a litmus test for the Government’s commitment to early engagement with business.”

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Stefanie O’Gorman, another member of the steering group who is director of sustainable economics at engineering firm Ramboll, said: “The rapid scale up of action must start now.

“Every delay increases the social, economic, and environmental costs of the just transition to net zero, as well as costs of adapting to climate impacts like increasing severity of storm events and overheating of buildings and floods.”

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.