Councils are being urged not to punish pupils for leaving school to take part in climate change strikes - as long as they have permission from their parents.

Scottish Green politicians have written to councils across the country urging them to support pupils who want to take part in the next day of action on 15th March.

The move comes after Edinburgh Council’s education committee agreed pupils could take part in the strikes, as long as they had permission from parents.

An estimated 15,000 people took part in a wave of climate strikes across the UK in February, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Ross Greer, education spokesman for the Scottish Green Party, said: “The climate crisis and how we all respond to it will now unavoidably define the lives of young people at school in Scotland.

“Many are, completely rationally, fearful for their futures and those of young people around the world.

“It’s clear why they feel compelled to speak out and urge stronger action from governments and corporations who have not just failed to tackle this crisis, but who have caused it.

“Local councils should support young people who chose to strike for the climate because they epitomise what it means to be responsible citizens. They should ensure there is no threat of any form of punishment.”

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of catastrophic environmental impacts even if countries manage to limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This could include increased extreme weather such as droughts and flooding and rising sea levels leading to difficulties producing food and the endangerment of animals.

Thousands of pupils from schools across Scotland went on strike last month as part of a global youth action protest over climate change.

Around 60 planned protests took place across the UK with events outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, George Square in Glasgow and cities including London, Cardiff and Manchester.

Protests were also held in European cities, including outside the Swiss parliament in Bern and the Bundestag in Berlin.

John Bynorth, policy officer at Environmental Protection Scotland, said: “These young people – and their children - are the future generations who will have to live with the consequence of climate change.

“We have seen some sensible decisions by local authorities, such as the City of Edinburgh Council, which have realised that it would be futile to stifle the pupils’ passion to engage political leaders in the debate over rising global temperature.

“If pupils are reasonable in their requests to attend protests, and discuss the situation fully with their senior staff, then there is no reason why they should not take part in the protests.”