If there’s really a climate emergency, governments have realised they’re going to have to do something about it. Local councils are at the sharp end of implementing change. Glasgow City Council has just signed up to a hugely ambitious programme of proposals, to get to the net zero emissions target within only 11 years. The radical change will be most obvious with transport, including at least a look at taking over the buses and making them free. It extends to heating buildings, use of plastic, school meals and political leadership. Glasgow – long nicknamed the Dear Green Place – wants to get greener. A lot greener. It is not alone in such ambitions. Other cities are going about the environmental cause in their own ways. Edinburgh, for instance, this week signed up to something called Cities Can B – a movement dedicated to working together in the cause. This follows the widespread declaration of a climate emergency, with the Scottish Parliament and government committed, and the Westminster legislature too. National declarations and setting targets is easy. Putting them into practice is a lot trickier. Those at a more local level have much of the work to do. That’s what makes the Glaswegian example worth a closer look. Much of it could be applied across other council areas, particularly cities and towns. The city council – SNP-led, for those who wish to make a party point – had set up a working group to look into the challenge, before the sense of emergency set in. But the group’s resolve seems to have been stiffened by the fair wind the issue was receiving as it deliberated. It acknowledges the obvious charge that Glaswegians have more immediate concerns, such as poverty, housing and litter. The findings seek to align with those concerns, using the environmental revolution to meet social need. New pro-cyclist priorities are called for, including segregated, quality commuting routes, plus an extension of pedestrian streets. Extension of the new central Low Emission Zone would be one of 61 recommendations, but instead it’s the ultra-cautious “process and timescale for consulting” on doing so.
BBC 27th Sept 2019 read more »
A school bike share scheme – claimed to be the first of its kind in the UK – has been launched in Stirling. Its backers hope giving teenagers easy access to a free public bike scheme will “instil active travel habits”. The project will involve 10 bikes stationed at each of three schools, with access to a further 160 stationed elsewhere in Stirling. Operator nextbike has dropped its normal policy that only over-18s can take out membership. Membership of the scheme will be free for pupils for the first 12 months.
BBC 27th Sept 2019 read more »
Scotsman 27th Sept 2019 read more »
Ralph Roberts CEO, McGill’s Bus Service Ltd. welcomes the new funding package for local authorities which will help ease the traffic jams. In a very welcome departure from policy decisions of recent years, the Scottish Government has announced a £500 million funding package that will enable local authorities – in partnership with bus companies – to introduce bus priority and congestion busting schemes. This is a very welcome, if long overdue, initiative. Spending on public transport infrastructure is not cheap and the list of needs is long so it is unsurprising that there is never quite enough money to go around. In recent years, the lion’s share of spending has been targeted at heavy, fixed rail infrastructure such as trains, trams and subway. A total of £1.5bn has been spent or committed to in an effort to modernise, increase capacity and green the system. Rail though, is the minority public transport mode compared to bus, which delivers 74% of public transport journeys in Scotland. In recent years, congestion, the cheap cost of car ownership and the subsidised rail network have all impacted on bus patronage.
Herald 27th Sept 2019 read more »