Lorna Slater in charge of circular economy as Scottish Greens enter government

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Lorna Slater (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie will be appointed ministers in the Scottish government following the power-sharing deal agreed between the ruling Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party earlier this month.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today (30 August) announced that Slater will take on the role of Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, while Patrick Harvie will be Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights.

“We have massive challenges to overcome: a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the assault by the UK government on the powers of our Parliament. Patrick and Lorna’s roles in Government are rightly at the heart of facing up to them, and the expertise and passion they bring with them will contribute greatly to defining Scotland’s path forward in doing so,” Sturgeon said.

Slater will drive a Green Industrial Strategy, helping people access training and opportunities as part of a net zero Scotland, and ensuring the economy is supported through a just transition to net zero. She will work closely with NatureScot and Zero Waste Scotland to support the development of a circular economy.

“Any transition to net zero must be just, and my focus will be on delivering policies that support our workforce and wider economy through that change as well as ensuring our greener future is also a prosperous and fair one that benefits our natural environment,” Slater commented.

The move sees the Greens entering government for the first time anywhere in the UK, and deal is the first formal cooperation agreement in Scotland since devolution.

The SNP earlier this year won an unprecedented fourth term in government in elections to the Scottish parliament, but fell one seat short of securing a majority in the 129-seat devolved assembly.

With the support of the Greens, who have seven seats, the SNP will have a clear majority to pass legislation to push ahead with plans for another referendum.

A deposit return scheme (DRS) for single-use drinks containers in Scotland is currently set to take effect on 1 July 2022, after the government has delayed the introduction by over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Circularity Scotland, a not-for-profit body which represents a combination of drinks producers, trade associations and retailers, has been approved earlier this year as the scheme administrator.