THE Scottish Borders Green Party has announced its candidate for the Tweeddale East ward at this year’s council elections.

Ellie Clarke, will contest the ward at the vote set to be held on May 5.

Ms Clarke, a self-employed landscape architect, yoga teacher and artist, lives in Tweeddale with her husband and two-year-old son.

She has spent the last year as a member of the Scottish Climate Assembly – a citizen’s forum created by the Scottish Government to make recommendations on tackling the climate emergency.

She said: “Once I understood the up-to-date and disturbing facts about climate breakdown, I felt compelled to take action to help our communities become resilient to the changes ahead.”

Some of Ms Clarke’s goals are to support local food production, ensure paths and pavements are safe and accessible to all, and promoting Tweeddale and the wider Borders as a sustainable tourist destination.

She said: “For my parents’ generation, growing food in the back garden was commonplace, and of course it was really important in helping the country through World War II.

“Granted, it’s not everyone’s thing, but I will ensure the council provides proper backup. I will push for shorter allotment waiting lists, support for community gardens, and promotion of a ‘garden buddy’ scheme to match up would-be gardeners with householders needing help to tend neglected land.

“Farmers also deserve much more recognition for their role in feeding the nation, and better support in meeting the multiple challenges they currently face. Greens have always been champions for locally grown food, as well as promoting the climate and wildlife friendly changes that are now so urgently needed.

“Our land and our skilled rural workers are one of the Borders’ most important assets, particularly as we seek out a new way of living that reduces the severity of climate breakdown and better prepares us for the now unavoidable impacts. As well as producing food and timber, rural businesses will be key to providing flood prevention schemes, space for nature recovery and carbon capture, and active travel routes safely linking our communities.”

Ms Clarke hopes that a Borders-wide path network can be created to open the region up to more visitors as a ‘top cycle touring destination’.

“By building rapidly on the example set by the Eddleston Water path, we should create a Borders-wide network of paths,” she added. “We are already renowned for our mountain biking facilities. Adding a safe path network could transform us into a top cycle touring destination.

“Combine this with bus services better tailored to tourism, for example with bike trailers and Sunday services, and we’d see reduced pressure on our road networks as well as great new local business opportunities.”

Ms Clarke is joined by Dominic Ashmole who is standing for the Scottish Borders Greens in the Tweeddale West ward, and Neil MacKinnon who will stand for the party in Galashiels and District.