RENFREWSHIRE Council has been accused of paying “lip-service” to climate change after it was confirmed schoolchildren have not been given permission to attend demonstrations.

Bosses at the local authority have told The Gazette standard procedure will be in place for any pupil who misses class to be at rallies being held across the country on Friday.

It means youngsters who have the permission of a parent or guardian to attend one of the Global Climate Strike events will have their absence marked as "unauthorised".

Children who do not get permission but take part anyway will be guilty of the same status.

However, council chiefs say there will be no further punishment for children who miss class. 

The news comes after Renfrewshire Council declared a ‘climate change emergency’ in June and agreed to take steps to tackle global warming.

Now the UK Student Climate Network, which is backing the strikes, has accused the council of shirking its responsibilities on climate action.

The Gazette: The movement has been led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg The movement has been led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg

A spokesperson said: “It is deeply disappointing that a council such as Renfrewshire, which unanimously passed a motion to declare a climate emergency, is not supporting its students.

“In fact, the motion speaks to the benefits of bold climate action and recognises local government shouldn’t wait for national government to act.

“In light of this, it gives the impression of paying mere lip-service to the climate crisis.

“If the council wants to act, it should be supporting its students who are taking bold climate action themselves.”

Thousands of youngsters, demanding that action is taken against the climate crisis, plan to march from Kelvingrove Park to George Square, in Glasgow, on Friday.

A leading church figure has also backed the need for young people to be listened to. 

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said listening and learning would help leaders respond more effectively to the climate emergency that is tightening its grip on the world.

Dr Frazer said: “Climate change will change the lives of children growing up today and they will experience profoundly the impact in decades to come. 

“It now casts a long shadow over their lives and they have responded to the inspiring example of the Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg and want to be heard.

The Gazette: Rev Dr Richard FrazerRev Dr Richard Frazer

“We are mindful of the many arguments for and against schoolchildren ‘striking’ and appreciate the strong feelings this evokes.

“By listening we can learn and understand better and this will in turn will help us respond more effectively to the climate emergency.”

Renfrewshire Council declined to comment.

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