IT’S fondly known as the dear green place but environmental campaigners are calling for urgent action to make Glasgow greener before it hosts a critical UN climate change summit next year. The clock is ticking with only 15 months to go until 200 world leaders and 30,000 delegates descend on the city for the most important climate change event since the 2015 Paris agreement. Lasting for two weeks, COP26 will be the largest summit ever hosted in the UK but critics are warning that the “shoddy” transport system and illegally high levels of pollution in parts of the city will be a major embarrassment unless radical measures are put in place quickly. While they acknowledge progress has been made, they say more has to be done now – particularly since both the City Council and the Scottish Parliament have declared a climate emergency. Action the council has taken includes the £115 million Avenues programme which is working to make the centre more “people-friendly” by introducing better and safer cycling and pedestrian routes. Construction work began with the Sauchiehall Street pilot project in 2018 and will run until 2024. There is also the South-West City Way which provides two kilometres of urban segregated cycle route linking Pollokshields to the Tradeston footbridge in around eight minutes by bike, with only 12 minutes to the city centre. Other similar projects already planned or in development include South City Way, Connecting Woodside, Sighthill Cycling Village the North East Active Travel Routes, the North City Way and Yorkhill and Kelvingrove Cycling Village. To combat the high pollution levels in some parts of the city centre, Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone (LEZ) came into effect in Glasgow city centre last December. To begin with, it only applies to local service buses but by the end of 2022, all vehicles entering the zone will have to meet specified exhaust emission standards. The city is also planning to scrap fossil fuel cars and trucks within a decade and is lobbying for tax changes to unlock district heating systems. A climate emergency working group was set up earlier this year and its report includes 61 recommendations which it is hoped the council will adopt to speed up the greening of Glasgow. The report has already been supported by the policy development committee and is going forward to the city administration committee.
The National 15th Sept 2019 read more »
What zero-carbon means for you: the new plan for Scotland’s cities. If we are serious about slashing greenhouse gases, we need to grow more of our food locally. And in towns and cities the only way individuals and communities can plant more fruit and vegetables is if councils make space for them to do so. Gardens. Allotments. Orchards. This is one of the front lines in the battle to mitigate against destructive global heating. It is where council planning rules meet a world imperative. Glasgow has ambitious plans to become the first city in the UK to get to zero-net carbon, when it takes out as much of the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as it puts in. It has set up a working group to figure out how. One of the proposals, quietly published last month, is an overhaul of planning. New developments, said members of the working group, should always have local food at their heart. Housebuilders, in short, will have to show where their future customers will plant their greens. That 18 metres between windows, neatly divided by a fence or a hedge, just will not cut it. Last week The Herald revealed council officials were being urged to reforest golf courses whose future is in doubt. Such green spaces may also find they become community assets. Existing new rules mean local authorities across Scotland have to ask communities about places where they would like more gardens or allotments.
Herald 15th Sept 2019 read more »