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National Nature Service could solve long-term unemployment problems in Dundee and beyond

Khopolo Jamangile, a climate assembly member from Dundee

Ambitious plans to cut Scottish carbon emissions, including setting up a National Nature Service, could provide a solution to employment problems in Dundee and beyond.

Dundee members of Scotland’s first Climate Assembly suggested their ideas could create scores of green jobs in areas such as nature conservation.

The Assembly has made 81 recommendations on how to reduce emissions faster, including setting up a National Nature Service.

But there is concern some of the Assembly’s recommendations — especially those on imposing high carbon taxes on businesses, land owners, farmers and frequent fliers — could hurt job numbers.

Service would target long-term unemployed

Khopolo Jamangile, a climate assembly member from Dundee, said: “There was a lot of discussion among those from Dundee and others who suffer from unemployment.

“How to create opportunities for lifelong education. More specifically targeting people who are not in full-time education.”

Oriana Derylo, 17, one of the Climate Assembly members from Dundee.

He said they wanted to give people who were long-term unemployed skills in rewilding, farm work or other places where they “could gain an education or move closer to nature”.

“That was one of the key things across the board,” he said.

The Scottish Government has six months to respond officially to the Assembly’s recommendations.

Assembly members challenged the Scottish Government to work with industry to create a National Nature Service in their report.

They said the Scottish Government should develop a career ladder, or an incentive, for people not in education, training, or work to contribute to rewilding, land restoration and adaptation projects.

Workers could adapt rivers and build more parks

The Assembly’s report said people working in the service could work to adapt the environment to make it more climate friendly.

That could include using plants to slow down water flow or creating more green spaces in cities.

Oriana Derylo, 17, also from Dundee, said: “Our proposal is about putting people in natural jobs, such as rewilding. And also building on people’s skills, perhaps ones they have had before, such as engineering.

“There are many opportunities out there for new jobs. I really want to see fewer higher-carbon jobs. For people to be re-skilled into something much more efficient for the future.”

Scottish Government net zero secretary Michael Matheson said the government would take the “necessary time” before offering a full response to the recommendations.

“It is clear that Assembly members have taken great care to develop ambitious proposals and recommendations to provide support for the societal transformation we know will be needed for Scotland to become a net zero nation.”

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