WITH the end of COP26, I feel it is important that we do not lose the momentum on addressing the issues of climate change.

It was shocking to learn that around 80 per cent of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from all the goods, materials and services which we produce, use and, sadly, often throw out after just one use. Last week, the Scottish Government announced that legislation had been laid which would see Scotland ban some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastic items, with the ban coming into effect on June 1, 2022. Scotland is the first nation in the UK to commit to addressing this issue on single-use plastic and pursue a ban.

However, I absolutely agree that investment must be made to ensure these greener alternatives are affordable for everyone. By making bus travel free for under-22s across Scotland, opportunities for young people to work, travel and study are being opened up for them. Not only does this take pressure off young people and their families’ finances but helps in our journey to net zero. I know this move will truly benefit my young constituents and hope this encourages them to make the change to public and shared transport as a main method of transport in the future.

Making a difference to your routine or tackling pre-existing climate issues in your community are just examples of how you can help.

This week, I chaired the Esk River Improvement Group (ERIG), which aims to look at the overall health of the River Esk and bring together those who are already working to make improvements to the quality of the water. It has now been running and meeting regularly, albeit virtually, for over a year and has really given local community group and key stakeholders such as SEPA, the Coal Authority and Scottish Water a platform of discussion and communication to flag and address issues. If any of my constituents would like to stay updated, please email my office at Colin.Beattie.MSP@parliament.scot to join our mailing list. Recent minutes are available on my website.