THE Scottish Greens are celebrating a breakthrough result in the local government elections with a record number of candidates elected.

Patrick Harvie’s pro-independence party took a total of 19 seats, up five on 2012 and giving it at presence on six councils.

Harvie hailed the result as proof local services matter to voters after the party’s campaign had concentrated on issues affecting communities in both urban and rural areas rather than focus on the big constitutional concerns of the day.

“Greens have expanded our support base across Glasgow and Edinburgh, and we’re seeing significant breakthroughs in other parts of Scotland, getting our first councillors onto local authorities where those Green voices will bring fresh ideas to the table,” said Harvie, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow.

“In Glasgow, we topped the poll in Hillhead, and achieved our first ever councillors in Dennistoun in the East End and in Pollokshields and Govan. It’s brilliant to have broken through in Orkney and Highland, and to have retained our presence on Stirling and Aberdeenshire councils.”

He added: “Amid a backdrop of poor media interest in local government, a Tory Prime Minister calling a General Election in the middle of the campaign and other parties’ shameless attempts to make a local election about national issues, we’ve made real progress.

“All our candidates and activists have done us proud and our newly-elected and re-elected councillors will be keen to get cracking, helping their communities.”

Andy Wightman, local government spokesman for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothians, added: “Council services such as schools, housing and social care really matter, so while on one hand it’s pleasing to see more Greens being elected to councils it’s a concern to see an increased Tory presence in many areas.

“This party, which has demonised vulnerable people in society and campaigned in a local policy vacuum, can only spell bad news for our communities if they are allowed any kind of influence over council services.”

He added: “The expansion of our base in Edinburgh shows an appetite in communities for councillors who listen and get things done. I’m looking forward to working closely with our new and re-elected Green councillors across the city and around Scotland in the months and years ahead as we strive to revitalise local democracy, put power back in people’s hands and protect our vital public services.”

Along with the SNP becoming the largest party in Glasgow winning 39 seats, the Greens’s success in the city, where it won 7 seats, is likely to mean Glasgow will have Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone for traffic.

Ministers had promised that the country’s first such zone, where the most polluting vehicles are excluded, would be operational by the end of next year.

The SNP and Greens in Glasgow both ran on manifestos committing to bringing that first LEZ to the Merchant City.