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Well-known Lochaber environmental campaigner and marine scientist Kate Willis is to stand as a candidate for the Scottish Greens in the Fort William and Ardnamurchan by-election on December 2.
Dr Willis, who will be the first Greens candidate to stand in council elections in Lochaber, has lived in the Highlands for almost 20 years, first working as a marine ecologist researching the environmental impacts of human activities, and then setting up and running a wildlife tourism business in the far north.
She currently works for Lochaber Environmental Group developing projects to improve active travel opportunities and cycling infrastructure in Fort William and Lochaber.
Many in the area will know her from the work she is doing to deliver HIBIKE, the Fort William ebike share scheme, which will be launching in spring 2022.
Dr Willis is also passionate about rewilding and local food production and has campaigned for many years for government action on the climate and
She is standing as a Scottish Greens candidate because she believes that Fort William and Ardnamurchan needs a green voice to bring a new perspective on local issues.
Dr Willis told us: ‘As we look to the future after COP26, we need to think longer-term and develop a green plan to create flourishing, resilient communities with democratic systems of local governance, affordable warm housing, and secure jobs, while protecting the environment we depend on.’
Highland Council currently has only one Green councillor, Pippa Hadley, who was a key player in persuading the local authority to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency and recently played an important role in the campaign to divest council pensions from fossil fuels and the arms trade.
Dr Willis added: ‘Just imagine what could be achieved if there were more Green councillors: we could create radical green changes and build inclusive resilient communities with affordable warm homes for all; we could significantly improve active travel infrastructure and public transport services, helping to reduce social inequalities.
‘And with a more local focus, we could concentrate on building a circular economy, supporting and promoting local enterprises and jobs, while reducing waste and
‘I am standing for Scottish Greens so we can work together to build a stronger, sustainable future. It can’t be business as usual, and we need to do everything we can to ensure the right decisions are made in the coming months and years.
‘We need a proper green recovery to tackle the climate and ecological crises and build a greener, fairer world for our children and grandchildren to grow up in.’