SIR David Attenborough’s clarion call (‘Extinction: The Facts’ on BBC 1 on Sunday, September 13) to change our wasteful ways or lose another million species underscores headlines of wildfires from Australia to California, and disappearing glaciers from Greenland to Antarctica. This is global warming, caused by man.

To address our part, Scotland has a goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2045. East Lothian makes that seem unlikely.

Despite closing Cockenzie Power Station; home insulation; cleaner buses; electric cars; recycling over 50 per cent, all this is offset by 10,000 new homes built and 10,000 more building.

Being Scotland’s fastest-growing area, East Lothian might have steered this toward an exemplary green future.

By planning compact, vibrant towns with local jobs and easy transport links, we could have catalysed community while reducing car use.

Instead, developers made millions from sprawls of tract homes in disjointed mini-Los Angeles. Other than schools, for which councils can claim funds, little else gets built – no major employer attracted, no business hubs provided, no major road improvements, no new station built.

Technically, responsibility lies with East Lothian Council planning, with its long-serving chair, advised by council officials who shirk from QC-backed developer appeals against refusals.

Local protests, such as that against overdevelopment of Gullane, are ignored. The result? 30,000, mostly professional, residents travel elsewhere for work. Despite home working, car use keeps growing – bigger-than-ever jams at Sheriffhall, while trains and buses are half-empty.

To be fair to East Lothian Council, much ‘greenwash’ oozes from Holyrood without offering real help. The Scottish Government makes poor planning law; councils must follow it, much to developer delight.

With no requirement to sustain, let alone build real communities, developers build what and where makes them most money. Doctors’ surgeries? Care homes? Business centres? Transport hubs? Not their problem.

Strategic city-region planning consists of councils squabbling among themselves. Meantime, health boards, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, ScotRail, bus companies, etc operate on separate planets. Two decades of devolution have gone no further than Holyrood. Even a no-brainer green project like an integrated transport system, such as Europe has enjoyed for half a century, is still chin music.

Far from being carbon neutral by 2045, East Lothian’s disjointed, unsustainable approach means holding carbon at current levels is unlikely. How much harder must it be for elsewhere?

Unless national planning catalyses sustainable strategies, reaching a carbon-neutral goal may require planting trees all the way from the Mull of Galloway to Dunnet Head – and us living in them.