Thursday, 29 November 2012

How to make a draught excluder

Today, I received a guide to making a draught excluder from Maryhill Climate Challenge Project.This is part of the low cost, energy efficiency activities every household is encouraged to get involved in.

1. For a door draught excluder, the length of the materials needed is usually 90cm x 25cm.

2. Fold material in half length ways, inside out. Stitch the one end of the length of the material leaving one end open (like a sock shape).

3. Cut a leg of a pair of tights and fill it with stuffing (scrap materials, old shirts, duvets etc).

4. When your tight is fully stuffed and a little shorter than your material, tie a not on the open end.

5. Insert the stuffed tight into your draught excluder material and stitch the last open end, or tie a knot.

6. To make your draught excluder look life-like, simply sew on buttons for eyes, and a short piece of ribbon for a tongue on the underside of the draught excluder.

An example of a completed draught excluder was on display at the Environment Day in Community Central Halls.

If you would like to take part in workshops to make draught excluders, please contact Kate Morrison on 0141 331 7676 or email:

Community garden plans - what do you think?

Maryhill Climate Challenge Project is designing a community garden within the grounds of the former Whisky Bond, Dawson Road which is the base for Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

 Sam who is involved in the design of the garden.

If you would like to support the design, building and /or maintenance of the garden, please contact Kate Morrison on 0141 331 7676 or email:

Environment Day at Community Central Halls

I went along to support the Environment Day organised by Maryhill Climate Challenge Project based at Community Central Halls, 296 - 316 Maryhill Road.

Poster advert at the entrance to Community Central Halls

There were lots of information stalls and practical projects to find out about. These included a bike smoothie maker provided courtesy of Dumbarton Road Corridor Environmental Trust.        I got on a bike and cycled to generate enough energy to create a fruit smoothie. 

 Neil Lovelock and myself promoting the bike smoothie maker 

Maryhill Climate Challenge Project aims to encourage health eating and cookery with affordable local ingredients, reduce fuel costs in homes through draught proofing and energy efficiency, improve biodiversity with a community garden and turn an industrial site into a natural greenspace.

To find out more formation and get involved as a volunteer, please telephone 0141 331 7676 and ask for Kate Morrison or email:

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Candle in the Dark

The Glasgow Gurdwara at 27 Otago Street has an exhibition of Sikh History this weekend. 

I attended the opening evening yesterday and received a guided tour from members of the National Sikh Youth Federation.

Image from the exhibition

There is a showcase of major aspects of recent political history including photographs and video footage from the acts of violence carried out against Sikhs in Delhi during 1984.

The opening times are Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November from 12noon - 7pm.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Removal of George Square Statues

Planning application to remove and restore George Square Statues is now under consideration and can be found at You can search using reference number 12/02178/DC.

Objection letters should use the reference number and include your name and address. 

They can be emailed to by 30th November 2012. 

My objection letter reads as follows:-

Planning & Development
Glasgow City Council
231 George Street
Glasgow, G1 1RX

Dear Sir/Madam

Reference Number: 12/02178/DC
Proposal: Removal and Restoration of Statues in George Square

I am writing to strongly object to the proposal to remove, for cleaning / restoration, the statues, and monuments, in George Square, with the exception of the Cenotaph. The reasons for my objection are:-

  1. The application is Contrary to DES 3 - Protecting and Enhancing the City’s Historic Environment.

The heritage and significance of George Square and its Statues are not protected by this proposal. It is noted that Glasgow rose to become of international importance, as the British Empire’s Second City, during the 19th Century and early part of the 20th century. The statues, created and placed within George Square over this period, and surrounded by significant civic buildings, provide a symbolic representation of the Glasgow's role as one of the world’s best-preserved Victorian cities. The statues contribute immeasurably to the identity and grandeur of George Square.

This Square is the main public space and sits at the civic heart of this great city, as a very important aspect within Glasgow’s Central Conservation Area. Any development at this site should enhance or preserve the character and appearance of the whole Conservation Area.

Glasgow, known as a City of Architecture, a cultural icon within Europe, as well as home of renowned architecture genius should protect and value this collection of high quality statues. The city is exceptional in having these unique statues gathered in one central focal place. It is vital that the city seeks to celebrate this significant heritage, cultural and economic asset for the enjoyment of its citizens and visitors.

There is a Central Conservation Area Appraisal adopted by Glasgow City Council in February 2012 which states on p. B144: “Refurbishment of George Square (LOC 10) The late Victorian layout of George Square has become confused and cluttered by later alterations, and the poor-quality tarmac surfacing detracts from the quality of the space. The square would benefit from traffic management measures, sensitive reconfiguration and upgraded public realm to a quality of design and materials appropriate to its significance at the civic heart of Glasgow (City Plan 2, Part 2, Sect 7.39).

A conservation plan is needed to identify the key historical components of the square and to ensure that their interest is recognised and maintained in any redevelopment proposals.”

There is no Conservation Plan, Action Plan and/or masterplan developed and published for George Square. It is unacceptable that the proposals for George Square (the current application to remove and restore the statues being but aspect) are being progressed without even a draft of such a conservation plan, which would be a pre-requisite to safeguard the square and ensure there is a satisfactory outcome.

  1. Contrary to “Site of Special Landscape Importance” status of George Square

George Square has status as Site of Special Landscape Importance (SSLI021) and is an area covered by Environmental Designations including policies ENV 7. This proposal does not demonstrate how the proposed development will enhance all of the statues which are the landscape characteristics of the Site of Special Landscape Importance. The proposal has to meet the required design principles to restore this important landscape within our city’s historic heritage; a collection of statues rivalled by few other cities in the world.

  1. Lack of Specification Details

a) “Sir Walter Scott” statue is by far the largest monument, but there is a lack of the details of works given for all other significant statues. This is essential information which must be provided to the public.

b) Plinths for most of the statues – there is no indication provided about intentions for the “Plinths”. As the plinth is an integral part of the artistic creation, each must remain with its statue. Plinths also carry the historic inscriptions. This essential information must also be available to the public.

  1. Planning Permission issues

Planning approval is needed for the permanent removal of statues from George Square. This is due to George Square being designated a Site of Special Landscape Importance (SSLI), located in the Central Conservation Area of Glasgow and as it is within the curtilage of significant listed buildings. It is recognised that if the Council takes action to relocate any statue(s) permanently, without the planning approval than it would be breaching its own planning regulations.

Significant change to the landscape will take place if the proposal is granted for statue removal, and it is therefore expected that planning permission would have to be granted at the same time for a new design for George Square, to “preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area” and to take account of SSLI status. Therefore a condition is required if this application 12/02178/DC is granted. It should explicitly require the pre-requisite of additional planning approval for any changes to George Square resulting from any relocations of statues, by means of inserting a condition of consent.

It is not acceptable for the heritage value of George Square to be diminished as would result from what is proposed. I strongly oppose this application which will neither enhance nor preserve the character and appearance of the Central Conservation Area.

Thank you for your consideration of my views.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Campaign for supermarket watchdog.

There is a campaign by Traidcraft, War on Want and others that has been making progress towards getting a watchdog to enforce a tough code of practice for supermarkets.

The big four supermarkets are controlling over 75% of the grocery market across the UK. This means that they have enormous power over the suppliers and farmers dictating the terms of sales. This creates pressures for the workforce of suppliers and farming communities including low wages, and long hours.

There is a call for supermarkets to be held to accountable for how they are treating their suppliers. I am supporting this campaign for fairer supermarkets.

Useful link:

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Focus on Women and Manufacturing

On Monday 12th November, I attended as an observer, the STUC Women's Conference in Perth. 

This year, the theme was "Women and Manufacturing" and in the Chair's welcome, Margaret Boyd highlighted, "Manufacturing in Scotland is seriously depleting and the closure of Halls in Broxburn is not going to help.  Women in factories around Scotland have the same issues as women in any other sector - childcare, shift patterns, longer hours, domestic abuse, maternity, lower pay, as well as working and caring for disabled children, and elderly parents".

Conference delegates take their seats.

One of the motions passed focused on manufacturing and stated that, "a reinvigorated manufacturing sector is a necessary component of a new fairer and more sustainable economic and social model."

It was noted that "manufacturing provides over 65% of Scottish exports and nearly all our research and development investment". In addition, it was recognised that it is "a force for social cohesion; it spreads jobs around the country and these are often the middle skill, middle income jobs that help to cement communities."

The motion went on to outline, " too few women are employed in the management and research functions of Scotland's manufacturing enterprises and attrition rates amongst Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics women students and graduates means a loss of valuable skills to the economy. Further we note that there is insufficient data available about the employment patterns, workplace health concerns, and other issues with regard to gender and manufacturing."

In conclusion, there was agreement for the Scottish Government to be urged to resource an investigation into the gender issues restricting growth and/or jeopardising the sustainability of Scottish manufacturing. It was also agreed to promote Scottish manufacturing and to work with all concerned to encourage diversity in the workplace".

Through networking at the information stalls, I heard about the efforts of various organisations including the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Technology and Engineering, to support women in manufacturing. Women have a crucial role in the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and this is been assisted by WIRES (Women in Renewable Energy Scotland).

There has to be continuing support given to women in manufacturing and a commitment by all levels of government to maximise women's involvement in our science, technology and engineering sectors.

Useful links:

WIRES (Women in Renewable Energy Scotland) -

Tapping all our Talents by Royal Society of Edinburgh -

Watch the video of Women's Employment Summit, September 2012 -

Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Technology and Engineering -

Reclaim The Night March 2012

On Monday 26th November 2012, there is the annual Reclaim the Night march and rally in Glasgow. The theme of this event will be “WOMEN ARE NOT FOR SALE IN SCOTLAND”.  

Everyone is encouraged to get involved and support promotion of equality in Scotland for all women, challenging prostitution and highlighting potential legislation.

The Reclaim the Night march starts from Botanic Gardens corner of Great Western Road and Queen Margaret Drive at 6.30 pm, and goes down Byres Road, University Avenue, Gibson Street, Eldon Street to the STUC.  

Thanks to Rape Crisis Scotland, there will be hot drinks, food, speeches and music at the end of the march.

Please take some time to check out the website of the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership on for more information on what’s happening internationally during 16 Days of Action for the Elimination of Violence Against Women between 25th November and 10th December 2012.

Useful Link:

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Reporting of unauthorised works

I am aware of concerns about building work or removal of trees which do not have planning permission. There are a number of current sites reported to the Council as having unauthorised works or activity taking place on them.

To seek an investigation by the Council of works taking place on sites, a planning enforcement form can be completed. 

This is supported by the Council's Enforcement Charter.

Useful link:

Enforcement Charter:

Re-painting of white lines

There are ongoing requests for white lines to be repainted at various junctions in the Hillhead area including Cresswell Street and Cranworth Street.

 Junction with faded white lines.

Residents feel there is an increased risk of accidents on streets with faded or missing white lines. Requests have been made to council officials for these white lines to be painted as a priority. 

Eco Award for Wellington Church

Yesterday, I was invited to join in the celebration of Wellington Church in receiving their eco-congregation award. 

Whilst at the church, I took part in the Fayre selling nearly new gifts and fair trade goods.

A range of fair trade goods on sale.

Earlier in the week, I heard about the efforts to ensure Scotland becomes a Fair Trade Nation. Wellington Church along with many groups is helping to make this happen.

Useful link:-

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Lighting in Kelvin Way

It has been highlighted that people don't feel safe walking through Kelvin Way. There is a need to ensure that any lighting faults are reported and street lighting maintained to a high standard to reassure the public. 

View of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

This evening, I walked through the area and found two lighting faults and these will be reported to staff at Land and Environmental Services.

Light out in Kelvin Way.

Any defects can be reported to the staff who manage street lighting at Glasgow City Council.

Useful link:-


Friday, 2 November 2012

2012 Koestler Awards at Tramway

This afternoon, I attended the opening of the "Insight & Outlook" exhibition which showcases artwork and writing from people in prisons, secure hospitals, secure children's homes and criminal justice services throughout Scotland.  The selected exhibits were entries to the 2012 Koestler Awards, a charitable project founded in 1962. It was curated by young care leavers from Glasgow's Leaving Care Services with support from the artist David Shrigley.


Representatives of the Koestler Trust, David Shrigley, Representative from the Scottish Prisons Service, Representative from the Cooperative, a main sponsor 
and two of the young care leavers.

During my look around the exhibition, I was fortunate to meet up with a campaigner against nuclear weapons, Barbara Dowling, who has been arrested at various protests. She shared her experience at Greenock Prison and highlighted the benefits of accessing the art facilities with support available from a tutor from Motherwell College.

Barbara Dowling and her painting of Bluebell Woods.

This exhibition is on from 3rd - 25th November 2012. There is a special award for artworks chosen by public votes.

Useful links:

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Free information and advice service in Woodlands

This evening, I attended an information event at the Albany Centre, Ashley Street and spoke with representatives of the Maryhill Advice Bureau. It was really good to hear that there is an advice service available on Tuesday evenings.

Advert for the advice session.

I was informed that anyone wanting to come along for advice has to telephone and to make an appointment please call on 0755 190 4892.

Useful link:

Citizens Advice Scotland -

Support for Affordable Warmth

Glasgow City Council's Affordable Warmth Dividend is a progressive policy and one of various actions needed to address fuel poverty. It is a scheme which can assist residents over 80 years of age and older with their increased costs associated with the winter months.

The approach of providing an Affordable Warmth Scheme was recommended in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Glasgow Report. It lists a total of 60 recommendations which support council's activities to reduce fuel poverty including appointment of an Affordable Warmth Champion, to create a city-wide energy literacy strategy, develop Sustainable Glasgow, and promote sharing of information with energy companies.

The pressure on household budgets, and on fuel bills in particular, remains a major concern for elderly people. We should not just be concerned about relieving their financial hardship through the scheme, but also improving their health.

In 1986, the UK Medical Research Council published a paper, Low Indoor Temperatures and Morbidity in the Elderly, which established clear links between cold indoor temperatures and health risks to the elderly in the UK.

This was backed up in a April 2002 report, The Raised Incidence of Winter Deaths, where the key points to emerge were:-
  1. Mortality rates are markedly higher in winter months than summer months.
  2. 'Excess winter mortality' is particularly pronounced for the elderly.
  3. Additional winter deaths are particularly associated with respiratory and circulatory diseases.
The Council has to work closely with our colleagues in health services and home care services supporting the most vulnerable elderly with coronary heart disease, stroke or lung problems to assess their energy requirements and take action to support the introduction of home energy efficiency measures.

We can acknowledge some progress when reading the statistics from the report on "Winter Mortality in Scotland - 2011-12, which shows fewer deaths were registered in Scotland during winter 2011/12 than during any winter since records began more than 60 years ago. Figures released by the National Records of Scotland indicate there were 19,119 deaths registered in Scotland in the four months to March 2012. This was 507 fewer than the number registered during the same period in 2010/11; and is the lowest number of winter deaths registered in Scotland since records began in 1951/52.
We can be positive about the work being carried out to reduce winter deaths and schemes to  support elderly people pay their fuel bills, but there is a still much more to be implemented as part of tackling fuel poverty.