COMMUNITIES must join in Argyll and Bute’s fight against climate change, a Helensburgh councillor has said.

But another member has hailed the contribution already being made to the battle by younger people in the area.

Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s policy and resources committee were given an update on the activities of a short life action group on climate change at their last meeting of 2019.

Councillor Richard Trail called for communities across Argyll and Bute to rally against climate change, but Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said the area’s school pupils are already sending out a clear message.

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Councillor Trail said at the meeting: “This is such an important and big issue and we cannot just let people say that it is down to the governments.

“Everybody has to be involved in this, and we cannot let communities off the hook.

“We should be trying to engage with them, because we don’t want to be seen to be doing ‘top down’ stuff.

“We need to be tapping into communities to see if we can make a difference on this.”

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Councillor McNeilly, who is the authority’s policy lead for education, responded: “It is absolutely imperative that we get people involved in this.

“But to pick up on Councillor Trail’s point, young people in Argyll and Bute are absolutely and utterly involved in this whole issue and how we live our lives.

“I ask members to go into schools and look at where they are on this. They are engaged with it and coming up with superb ideas.

“I was at Dunoon Grammar School yesterday [December 16] as part of an event, and climate change is absolutely first and centre to them.

“We cannot be clear about having a strategy on this without engagement from young people. I have had a number of items of correspondence asking me to champion their ideas.”

Several Hermitage Academy pupils took part in the UK’s first national ‘climate change strike’ in September, for which they were allowed to take a day’s ‘authorised absence’ by the local authority.

READ MORE: Hermitage Academy pupils take part in UK's first 'climate change strike'

Council leader Aileen Morton, who chairs the short life action group, added: “The community planning partnership considered this a couple of weeks ago, and members of the Scottish Youth Parliament were involved in the discussion.

“I have also had correspondence from a few different community groups, including the Green Party, and there is an opportunity to put it through the different community planning groups we have.”

The action group held its first meeting on Thursday, November 7.

Its other councillor members, along with Councillor Morton, are Bobby Good, Jim Findlay, Rory Colville, Kieron Green and Jim Lynch.

Ross McLaughlin, the council’s head of commercial services, told the policy and resources committee: “There was a lot of good discussion at the meeting on a very wide-ranging and at times challenging topic.

“There are 12 actions, including a variety of policies and actions to influence the behaviours of those in our communities.”

The council's climate change group is due to meet again on Thursday, January 16.

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