A FORMAL coalition between the Scottish Government and the Greens could spark protests amongst rural workers, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association has warned.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this week that talks are underway with the Scottish Greens, exploring different policy areas where they could work together, including the climate emergency and how Scotland could accelerate its progress towards net zero.

It is possible that these talks will result in some Green MSPs being given Ministerial positions in Government.

The leader of Scotland’s gamekeeping body believes that prospect will place over 13,000 jobs at risk, as the Greens’ attempt to enact their election manifesto pledge to end what they term ‘blood sports’. However, the Scottish Greens have argued in return that they are committed to creating thousands of jobs.

SGA chairman Alex Hogg commented: “Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie’s clinical cull of jobs, using emotive labelling, is not about biodiversity and climate – it is a misguided class war that will actually sacrifice over 13,000 rural workers and their families.”

Mr Hogg added that rural workers in these sectors will not stand by and watch their livelihoods ‘ripped apart’ by a coalition: “Putting a significant part of Scotland’s land and river working community on the dole, rather than engaging them, is a massive climate mistake and we hope, in the first 100 days of government, that the First Minister is not about to throw Scotland’s rural workforce under a bus.”

He urged the Scottish Government to listen to upland scientists working in the field today: “If you plant trees on moorland, you gain some biodiversity and lose it elsewhere. There is no guarantee you will store more carbon. Recent science, in fact, shows you may store less.

“Yet absentees and corporates are already getting rich buying and ploughing up organic moorland soils, on the largesse of taxpayer subsidies, and there is no Scottish Government or Green Party oversight over whether it will actually save any carbon or not.”

Responding to the SGA’s concerns, the Scottish Greens' environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said: “The Scottish Greens manifesto committed to creating thousands of rural jobs through the restoration of nature and by strengthening and expanding our national parks. We look forward to working with forward-thinking land managers and communities to deliver solutions to the climate and nature emergencies.”