Young people are being forced out of the Highlands because of the cost of housing. As a recent example, a two-bedroomed wooden chalet, fifty years old, sold recently on Skye with an asking price of £600,000. An alarming number of people are in fuel poverty.

One way to guarantee affordable housing long-term is to build homes for rental. There are now experienced craft builders, small businesses based in the Highlands, able to build low-carbon, designer-built houses, designed to minimise fuel bills.

The Greens’ national Cooperation Agreement will lead the way with at least £1.8bn invested in making Scotland’s homes greener, warmer and more efficient and therefore cheaper to run, and Greens will help secure the Highlands’ part of that investment and make sure it is well spent.

Greens in government will deliver rent controls and new rights for tenants. Greens on the Council will consult with Living Rent Highland to support a more localised look on issues and solutions for the region.

Green Councillors will work to;

  • Ensure that more publicly-owned high quality properties are available for young people and families.

  • Push for all new publicly-owned housing to be built to Passivhaus standards to reduce fuel poverty, increase quality of life and help the Highlands meet its climate targets. We should follow Scandinavian standards to build homes future-proofed, rather than have to pay to retrofit insulation.

  • Support the control of short-term lets of properties which would otherwise be suitable as homes for local people.

  • Support community-owned housing initiatives.

  • End rip-off rents and rent rises.


There is growing support for better infrastructure for active travel. During 2021 large numbers of people enjoyed being able to walk or cycle with less traffic. More would leave their car behind if the alternatives were more attractive. We need to cater for them, to reduce pollution and make it easier for essential services to get around. Greens in government have already implemented free bus journeys for under 22s from January 2022.

Cyclists and pedestrians need to be separated from buses, cars and lorries. Every driver knows that. Pedestrians and cyclists certainly do!

Green Councillors will work to:

  • Increase active travel. We will establish priorities for building safe walking and cycling paths between population centres. Thanks to the Greens Co-operation Agreement, 10% of the national travel budget will be allocated to active travel – three times the current budget. We will work with Council officials, Sustans, HiTrans, and Transport Scotland to help create effective plans in order to ensure the Highlands gets best use of this investment.

  • Support recent calls for the creation of a publicly-owned Highland bus service, providing an efficient integrated service. The most successful bus company in Scotland is Lothian Buses, run for efficiency, not profit, on behalf of the Council who own it.

  • Contribute to the national Fair Fares Review to ensure the unique issues faced by Highlanders are represented when considering concessionary schemes for bus, rail and ferry.

  • Make 20mph the speed limit in residential areas This is something which has been agreed in the Co-operation agreement by 2025.

  • Deliver more Safe to School initiatives. The aim is to ensure every child who lives within two miles of school is able to walk or cycle safely

  • Support the improvement of Highland’s railways. Under the Cooperation Agreement, the government has pledged to invest £5 billion in maintaining, improving and decarbonising Scotland’s rail network. We will work with the Highland Council and the newly renationalised ScotRail to deliver better links to rural areas, and improve timetables; create more capacity for bike storage; support dualling of the Highland Mainline, and increase infrastructure for freight..

  • Support the expansion of Electric Vehicle infrastructure, as well as encourage the establishment of EV car clubs for rural communities.


The Highlands has a brilliant opportunity to be amongst the pioneering UK and European councils developing a local Circular Economy. We aim to move from a system where resources are dug up, used once and then buried in landfill, to one where materials are constantly reused and repurposed. This is a priority project for us, with potential zero cost and high benefit for every aspect of our local economy.

Last year we produced 4,000 tonnes less waste than the previous year. This downward trend is due to continue, even without plans for circular economies. Half the waste currently landfilled is just put in the wrong bin, wasting £4m a year. Further public information is needed to reduce this.

Green Councillors will work;

  • To build the Circular Economy within the Highlands, collaborating with local businesses and agencies in preparation for the upcoming Circular Economy Bill from the Cooperation Agreement.

  • Toward a system where there is less waste to dispose of, rather than going ahead with the proposed incinerator in Inverness. Burning valuable resources and turning them into toxic ash (which still has to be landfilled), while expelling carbon emissions and pollution, makes no sense when we could reuse materials. Landfill in the sky – it simply moves pollution from the ground to the air.

  • To increase recycling services to extend the range of items which can be recycled.

  • To launch a Highland Circular Economy Alliance brand, to join together and promote local businesses, community projects and individuals who participate in the circular economy. We will encourage ways of using “waste” - such as food scraps and cardboard from restaurants going to composting for local growers, which in turn grow high quality produce for local restaurants or community composting. Anaerobic digestion - turning organic waste into usable gas for heating - is another example.


Tourism growth in the Highlands has been sudden and massive with many communities feeling overwhelmed, with little public benefit.

Communities must benefit from tourism rather than it being ‘done to’ them; therefore, communities must have a lead role in tourism development. Tourism must work within ecological and human/social carrying capacities of the regions/areas. These carrying capacities need to be defined and used to develop reasonable limits to tourism in any locality. Accommodation for tourism should not be at the expense of communities.

Communities in tourism areas must remain as living communities and not just be destinations. Housing in tourism hotspots must be protected to ensure availability for local families.

Green Councillors will;

  • Promote the Highlands as a high quality “slow tourism” destination.

  • Work to further the introduction of Transient Visitor Levy in the Highlands. Money raised will help alleviate tourist-related infrastructure pressure – i.e. repair of roads and potholes; public toilets; waste disposal facilities. All of this will improve visitor experience and benefit communities in tourist hotspots. Upon paying the levy, tourists could receive rewards such as free public transport in tourist hotspots.


The Highlands is well-placed to be a world leader in renewable energy. With our wealth of skills and natural resources, there is no good reason why we can’t maximise benefits for the region in a fair and equal way. We will scrutinise renewable energy scheme proposals and ensure that they benefit communities and the environment.

Green Councillors will work to support;

  • A Just Transition to Green energy. Most skills and training required by the oil and gas sector are readily transferable to the renewable energy industry, and there are massive opportunities from growth of the renewable energy industry . We acknowledge the importance of community-owned energy projects in the Highlands as a vital part of this.

  • The growth of onshore and offshore wind, particularly community-owned, and where appropriately sited. The Cooperation Agreement has set an ambitious aim of producing between 8 and 12 GW of installed onshore wind by 2030, subject to consultation. Hydro was the renewable which transformed the Highlands in the 1950s - wind could do the same for this generation. We will of course scrutinise environmental impacts and prioritise community ownership and benefit. The Highlands have great potential to be a real powerhouse of renewable energy, and we will work to ensure our communities benefit from this.

  • The utilisation of solar energy. All suitable council houses and buildings should have PV systems installed, and any businesses with suitable buildings should be supported to do so too.

  • Solar carports to be installed on council-owned car parks where possible.

  • Tidal and wave energy and Anaerobic Digestion are also coming on stream and add to capacity and resilience

  • Energy storage schemes which use sustainable technologies where they don’t have adverse impacts on the environment, for example Green Hydrogen for HGVs, the Far North and Kyle rail lines and ferries; liquid air energy storage in Caithness, and Greens welcome the first development of this in Inverness.