GLASGOW is seeking private investors to help fund a £30 billion plan for green investment in the city as it prepares to host the UN’s crucial climate summit later this year. Council leaders aim to take advantage of the focus COP26 will bring, in order to seek backing for a range of projects that would transform the face of Scotland’s largest city and turn Glasgow into a global green flagship city.
Herald 8th Aug 2021 read more »
Ahead of the make-or-break UN climate summit in Glasgow, council leader Susan Aitken tells our Writer at Large of her revolutionary plans to transform our largest city. ASK Susan Aitken about her vision for the future of Glasgow and she’ll talk for 20 minutes straight, barely pausing for breath. Little wonder. Aitken runs the city – and Glasgow is in the international spotlight as it prepares to host the most important diplomatic event of the decade: the UN climate summit known, inelegantly, as COP26. Aitken wants to use the Clyde to heat hundreds of thousands of homes, turn the river into Scotland’s answer to the Seine in Paris – green Glasgow making it a global eco-city – and snatch back land owned by big business. Yet her bold vision clashes against the grim reality of life in Glasgow. There is deep poverty, rat infestations, litter in the streets, and a post-industrial landscape scarred by vacant lots and the blight of a motorway cutting right through the city’s heart. The leader of Glasgow City Council believes that she can address Glasgow’s historic problems of ingrained poverty and inequality by forging a green future. Build a great public transport system and jobs will flow, health will improve. Reclaim vacant sites for shops and offices, and turn the Clyde into a river of gold through energy production and tourism. Transport is at the heart of this vision – a new metro system of trams, rapid transit buses and light rail, which connect all parts of a city where outlining areas have often been forgotten. “The lack of connectivity reinforces inequality,” says Aitken. “It cuts people off from economic opportunities. There are places which aren’t accessible by public transport, only car, and this in a city which has the lowest car ownership in the UK.” But the most ambitious idea is using the Clyde for energy. “We want to really exploit the Clyde’s renewable energy potential,” she says. “The most important thing we can do with our river is heat. We think we can heat half the city. Certainly, the estimation is that around 50 per cent of the city could be sourced by the Clyde.” The council, meanwhile, is working with Strathclyde University on the science. “One of the big-scale interventions needed is to get the city to net zero – domestic heat is massively important for that. We need to get the city onto renewable heat sources.” RETROFITTING 450,000 homes for energy efficiency across Glasgow will cost around £10 billion. Glasgow’s famous tenements, however, are infamously energy inefficient. The council has successfully experimented with making empty tenements “passive houses” – so they leave the smallest carbon footprint. The plan is to make this “rolloutable so we can apply it to 70,000 tenements across the city. It can be done”.
Herald 8th Aug 2021 read more »