Thursday, 19 February 2015

Glasgow City Council's Budget Day 2015

Green Councillors have identified budgetary savings and income opportunities through additional investment in energy efficiency initiatives and income generating renewable energy projects.

Green plans would commit the Council to further cuts in its energy costs as well as ensuring it plays its part in meeting the challenges of climate change by taking action to reduce its carbon footprint.

We are pushing for sensible local investment to generate income and energy from wind and hydro, both to cushion the Council from further energy price rises and to benefit from government funding.

We are also backing new initiatives to reduce the total energy by investing in LED lighting technologies and building management systems. LED lighting could be installed in all council buildings. LED technology offers exceptionally longer life span and lower energy usage. There are reduced maintenance costs and higher safety. This provides a high return on investment.

Greens want the Council to produce more of our own electricity. We would build a second wind turbine on council land, located in Robroyston or Easterhouse costing £5m. This can provide a much needed new revenue stream, and takes us beyond provision of a windfarm located on Cathkin Braes to the next phase of wind power investment. This fosters a sense of hope for the future.

We also support the development of appropriate hydro electric schemes within the city. The small scale scheme proposed on the River Kelvin converts the energy of flowing river water into electricity, and provides an affordable, easy to maintain and long-term solution to our energy needs.

There is funding provided to support the growing and coppicing of willow trees to supply biomass boilers and to sell on the open market. There is a pilot project underway which is providing biomass boilers within several council buildings. The supply of wood fuel from willow grown on council's land should be explored as part of this project.

In the next year, we want to develop support for investment in Energy Efficiency of Council Estate. This would cut the bills the Council faces, they would generate new training and job opportunities and cut our carbon emissions from the council assets.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Traffic signs in Woodlands being ignored

This week, I heard from residents who are concerned about drivers ignoring the one-way system on West Princes Street in Woodlands.

View of West Princes Street looking from Montague Street 
towards St. Georges Cross

Also, there are reports that the sign prohibiting right hand turns out of Barrington Drive is not being followed.
The "no right turn" sign at Barrington Drive.

The Woodlands area is designated a twenty's plenty zone and a restricted parking zone. As a result, it is expected that problems with traffic, parking and speeding would be limited. Further investigation by council officials is needed in to the issues raised by residents . To help ensure that drivers reduce the speed of vehicles, the suggestion that traffic calming is introduced in the area should be considered.

View of West Princes Street at St, Georges Road.

I have flagged up the various traffic issues raised by residents to council officials. Further discussion will take place about enforcement and investment in the Woodlands area.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Local residents concerned about plans for former BBC site

This week, I received a series of emails highlighting objections to the new proposals for the former BBC site on Hamilton Drive. The developer is seeking to build a new substation next to the B-listed terrace housing and also, to remove 13 mature trees along the riverbank.

13 trees to be removed from this riverbank due to housing proposal.

Proposed location of the new substation.

The developer is making amendments to the existing plans and this has upset the local residents who take pride in preserving the quality of their local environment. 

The removal of the trees could be avoided by ensuring the boundary of housing development is further back from the riverbank. The new substation would be sited within the housing development and not adjacent to the victorian terrace. This would recognise the importance of protecting the views of the existing victorian architecture within Hamilton Drive.

At a meeting of the Planning Committee, a revised plans for the site was agreed. Thankfully, the proposal to remove 13 trees and build a new substation have been withdrawn. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Plans to support activities along the Canal

A planning consultation event known as a "Charette" was organised by the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership from 4th - 7th February 2015. It aimed to develop proposals to enhance the opportunities provided along the Forth & Clyde Canal. The focus was on identified ideas which would be supported by the communities of Woodside, Firhill and Hamiltonhill. I took part in a walkabout and a workshop discussion on environmental issues. 

View of the event at Firhill Basin.

"Temporary overlay for a jetty" by Gwenan Davies

"Translucent Rock" by Fionnuala McGowan

Today, I visited the finale at the Firhill basin, where there were artworks, music and a film to enjoy. A variety of artworks were displayed throughout the area. It would be really positive if pop-up environmental art installations were supported on a regular basis.

Useful link:

Glasgow Canal -

Steam cleaning of Woodside Landmark

Today, I was pleased to observe the statue of St. George and the Dragon, at St. Georges Cross being steam cleaned.  It is anticipated that the cleaning process to remove the green slime from the statue will be completed over the next week.

Statue of St. George and the Dragon

This is a significant local landmark which is featured in the Woodside Heritage Trail designed by Woodside Community Council. Glasgow City Council has contracted a company skilled in restoration of statues to undertake the necessary works.

Useful link:

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

"Hope is coming"

This evening, I attended a meeting to discuss the impact of Syriza winning the Greek Elections. The key to this victory seems to have been the development of effective political leadership and unity between communities involved in an anti-austerity movement. 

Discussion took place about how to learn from the social networks in Greece that support people in need and have helped to establish an alternative to neo-liberal economics. 

I picked up a booklet developed to promote the building of hope in Greece. For further reading, please refer to website at:

Recycling of waste in your blue bin

Today, I joined a tour of the Blochairn Recycling Centre which separated the waste from your blue bin for recycling. This is a council-owned facility which processes a range of items for recycling including cans, cardboard, newspaper, and plastic cartons.

Waste is dumped by cleansing lorry and 
transferred to a conveyor belt for processing.

Items are separated in to different sections for recycling.

Aluminium cans are made in to bales for recycling.

This Centre has been operated by staff from Land and Environmental Services for the last 9 months. It processes waste from blue bins from across the city. There is potential to extend the amount of waste that is recycled and a waste strategy to maximise the use of this facility is being developed.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Railings at St. Joseph's Primary

This week, whilst delivering newsletters to households in Woodside, I was delighted to find that the railings of St Joseph's Primary were being painted.

View of the railings at North Woodside Road/Raglan Street.

In the last year, I supported a request from the school staff for improvements to these railings. After the building works to refurbish this school, I am really glad that the railings are being given a face lift. Thanks to everyone at Glasgow City Council and Community Safety Glasgow who have been involved this project.

Debate on resources for social care services

Yesterday, I participated in a "Glasgow Care Crisis" meeting which discussed the impact of budget cuts by Glasgow City Council. It focused on the concerns of service users affected by cuts to funding of mental health services and changes to provision for adults with learning disabilities. 

I shared my perspective with reference to the significant issues which inform the debate on social care services in Glasgow during 2015-16. 

1) Funding of the £100m for delayed discharge announced by Scottish Government on 20th January 2015.

This funding is available over three years to invest in the NHS to help reduce the numbers of people waiting to be discharged from hospital. It aims to support public services to provide good quality care and support for people at home or residential care setting. A critical issue is prevention of delays discharge and taking actions to make admissions to hospital and attendances at A&E less likely. There is funding of £13.29m to be spent in Glasgow as part of the wider plans linked to the integration of health and social care services.

2) Glasgow City Council is no longer a member of COSLA
A taskforce has been set up with COSLA to roll out plans to support delayed discharge improvement. It would appear that the withdrawal from membership of COSLA will reduce the opportunities for Glasgow City Council to influence decision-making and share expertise with other local authorities on these plans.
The new Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership will be forming in the next few months and this resource aims to assist in delivering public services that focus on transferring people from hospital within 72 hours of their discharge date. The aim is to redesign services and create an even greater focus on supporting people to live independently at home.
3) The allocation of Integration Care Funds is available for community and third sector preventative services.
Newly established Health and Social Care Partnerships will receive an additional £100m in 2015-16 from Scottish Government to help integrate services and the emphasis is on funding the third sector organisations to deliver community-based services. This money will be available to partnerships following the end of the £300m Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund, which concludes in April 2015.
4) Adoption of a new Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership 
The process is underway to set up the new Partnership with the scheme of establishment being considered for approval by the Executive Committee on 5
th February 2015. 

5) Opening of the New South Glasgow University Hospital
The new South Glasgow University Hospital and Royal Hospital For Sick Children aims to deliver maternity, children’s and adult acute hospitals, and state of the art laboratory services all together on the one campus. It will also have the biggest Critical Care complex and one of the biggest Emergency Departments in Scotland. 

It is apparent, from the questions that were raised at the meeting, that the immediate concern of service users and their carers is the budget decision of Glasgow City Council at its budget meeting on 19th February. Proposals are being developed by all the political groups for this meeting including the Green Councillors Group. The views of people who attended the meeting will feed in to the process of developing budget options.

Litter bins on West Princes Street

The problem of overflowing litter bins on West Princes Street is a constant concern of residents. Whenever I walk down this street, there are pole bins needing emptied. 

The fact that people in the Woodlands neighbourhood are using the litter bins is really positive. Residents are involved in making efforts to improve the local environment on West Princes Street, with improvements to the back lanes and development of the gardening projects.

Pole bins are overflowing with litter.

Further requests to Cleansing officials will be made for the existing bins to be emptied on a more frequent basis.