SCOTTISH councils have warned that legal net zero targets will not remain on track without authorities "being “empowered, resourced and supported” more effectively by SNP ministers.

Cosla, the umbrella group for local authorities, has issued a stark warning that “reductions in the core grant to local government has reduced the capacity of local authorities to deal with the climate emergency”.

Ahead of Cosla environment and economy spokesperson, Gail Macgregor, appearing before MSPs on Tuesday, the organisation has warned that further investment in local government is “essential”, alongside “greater co-ordination” between the Scottish Government and local authorities.

In a submission to Holyrood’s Net Zero Committee ahead of Ms Macgregor’s appearance, Cosla has warned that “at the current pace”, Scotland will miss out on its legal pledge to cut 1990 levels of carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030.

It adds: “To make the 2030 target more achievable we will need to increase the pace of delivery considerably in order to make further, deep cuts in emissions this decade.

“This will require greater coordination between local and Scottish Government and further investment.”

Several local authorities including Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils have pledged to become net zero by 2030, 15 years ahead of the national commitment.

But council leaders have warned that targets are being put at risk “due to continued cuts to local authority core funding”.

They have called for “the investment of new resources”, pointing to the response at the start of the pandemic – alongside “remedial work to address many years of local government funding cuts”.

The organisations has highlighted the behaviour change needed to meet legal targets, labelling it “an absolute prerequisite”.

The Scottish Government has estimated that £33bn will be needed to decarbonise heating systems in homes.

But Cosla has now called for “a sustainable investment model for retrofitting at scale”, adding that “this will require leadership and collaboration at a national scale to deliver”.

The Scottish Government has said it has given local councils a fair funding deal and let authorities raise revenue through a tourist tax.