SCOTTISH Tory leader Douglas Ross has defended a lack of measures in his economic blueprint to tackle the climate emergency as he set out a “positive alternative” to Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy.

The First Minister will set out the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government tomorrow – the legislation that will be considered by Holyrood before next year’s election.

The First Minister has stressed that her Programme for Government will focus on creating “a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland for everyone" and will include measures to ramp up her commitment to the country becoming net zero carbon - while she has repeatedly stressed the need for green jobs as part of any recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Ross has set out a host of uncosted policy objectives he would like to see rolled out, including expanding capacity on Scotland’s busiest motorway, making it easier for local businesses to bid for government contracts and a strategy to help skilled workers find work amid the economic recession.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross to unveil transport and jobs strategy to boost 'divided' economy

But the Moray MP, who will put himself forward on the Highlands and Islands list at May’s Holyrood election, has defended plans to expand the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow to three lanes amid Scotland’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2045.

The plans were unveiled after leading climate expert, Professor Dave Raey, called for all roads expansion projects to be scrapped – with funding instead committed to sustainable infrastructure such as rural broadband.

Mr Ross said: “If you take the road improvement alone, I can understand how you could then state that it doesn’t look at supporting the climate emergency and our response to that. However, there are other parts of the report that absolutely do – for example, improving the rail links and connectivity between Edinburgh and Aberdeen and Inverness.

“It’s looking at this document in the whole and the fight against climate change and our response to climate change spreads through a number of policies in this document.”

READ MORE: Climate professor calls for ban on road expansion plans in Scotland

The Tory leader was pressed on what his party would do to tackle the climate emergency and stressed that “it’s going to be the focus on a future policy focus paper for me”.

He added: “Trying to add in bits in pieces in this report would devalue what I wanted to bring forward on behalf of the party on this crucial area.

“It will be a series of separate policy announcements and a separate paper focusing purely on that, given the importance of this area.”