Friday, 30 March 2018

Kelvin Walkway repairs at Queen Margaret Road

Last Sunday, I enjoyed a stroll along the Kelvin Walkway and found that the repairs to the steps to/from Queen Margaret Road have been completed. The entrance gate is open and accessible after contract works on replacement steps and footpath.

View of the access gate at Queen Margaret Road

 New stairway down from Queen Margaret Road to Kelvin Walkway

Resurfaced footpath to access the Kelvin Walkway

The completion of the footpath and steps is very welcomed as this is a vital walking route for local residents and visitors. This investment by the Council improves the accessibility of the Kelvin Walkway. Special thanks are due to the staff involved in making sure that this work was prioritised.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Act to improve air quality

This week, we moved forward in efforts to improve air quality in Glasgow's city centre.  At the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Development Committee's meeting councillors gave support of plans to implement a low emission zone by the end of December 2018. Air pollution is now at the top of the council's agenda due to the efforts of environmental campaigners.

Die-in held by environmental campaigners in George Square
on Tuesday 20th March

There is still a lot of work to do to delivery this Low Emission Zone. Investment in bus retrofitting to ensure they meet Euro VI standard is critical as part of phase 1 and I have been pushing for all buses to comply by December 2020. Further debate will take place on the phase 2 which involves all other vehicles and the potential for a congestion charge. To delivery the Low Emission Zone, we still need further support from Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and the Traffic Commissioner.

Environmental harm of Roadside Litter

There is a huge problem with litter on road verges next to the M8 motorway at Charing Cross. Last Sunday, I helped at a community clean up and gathered three bags of rubbish from St. Georges Road.

View of litter at roadside verge on St. Georges Road.

After clean up of litter.

This is a small contribution to reducing the unsightly litter on our streets. It is estimated that on a monthly basis, 50 tonnes of litter are dumped on Scottish roadsidesThere is a roadside litter campaign that you can support at:

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Fundraising with a Taste of Glasgow

Whilst shopping this afternoon, I came across a fundraising group who have produced a recipe book called "A Taste of Glasgow" and  they are selling copies to raise funds for Children 1st. This is an distinctive collection of special recipes from chefs of the city's restaurants. 

Front cover of "A Taste of Glasgow".

Donations from the recipe book go to Children 1st. 

Introducing Big Belly Solar Bins

In July 2017, I went on a walk along the Fife Coastal Path to Anstruther where I enjoyed fish and chips on a bench at the harbour. Nearby, I spotted a solar powered bin and used it to dispose of my rubbish.  As I am interested in reducing litter problems and support renewable energy projects, this bin appeared to be a very attractive innovation.

 Big Belly Solar Bin at Anstruther Harbour, Fife in July 2017.

On my return to Glasgow, I asked council officials if Big Belly Solar Bins had been considered for the city's streets. Subsequently, the potential of this bin type to improve street cleansing has been subject to debate and thankfully, Big Belly Solar Bins are now being tested in Buchanan Street.

Big Belly Solar Bin on Buchanan Street, Glasgow in March 2018.

The development of smart bin technology bins such as Big Belly Solar are worth considering as part of the effort to enhance street cleansing services and reduce our carbon footprint. 

Friday, 9 March 2018

Unveiling of the Mary Barbour Statue

Yesterday, I took a trip on the Glasgow Subway to Govan Cross to see the unveiling of the Mary Barbour Statue by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Eva Bolander. The statue celebrates the life of one of the first women councillors for Glasgow, who was elected in 1920. Mary Barbour campaigned for more affordable rents and better housing conditions. 

A Unison banner featuring La Pasionaria next to the River Clyde.

After the unveiling, standing next to the statue.

This event took place on International Women's Day which had the theme of "Press for Progress". We have to continue to seek improvement to the city's housing conditions and make rents more affordable.

Special thanks go to everyone who helped raise the funds which made it possible to commission the statue designed by Andrew Brown. The statue has been passed to Glasgow City Council, to be maintained at Govan Subway Station's entrance, on land owned by SPT.

Council Budget 2018

During the debate on budget proposals on 22nd February 2018, I highlighted that Greens are pushing for investment in Recycling, Trees, Parks and Allotments. 

The amount that Glasgow recycles can increase in the next year if more people are encouraged to separate their waste and make better use of existing recycling provision. Green Councillors are supporting initiatives to promote and encourage participation in recycling. Currently, service calendars are issued to properties on Managed Weekly Collection informing residents of bin collection dates and what can and can’t be recycled. This tends to encourage recycling by non-flatted households. Green Councillors want to ensure that additional resources are directed at flatted properties, providing information on bin collection dates and reissuing blue recycling bag and food waste caddies as well as additional blue bins. Recycling facilities for flatted properties can be developed further as part of the rollout of the Bin Replacement Programme. There is widespread concern about plastic pollution and in the coming year, there has to be a commitment to review the materials collected within the blue bin recycling service. Modifications to the Council's material reclamation facility at Blochairn should be progressed to enable additional plastic waste streams to be accepted for processing. In light of plans for a national deposit return scheme for drinks containers, we need to review current glass recycling arrangements and identify opportunities to increase the amount of empty glass bottles and jars collected for reuse and recycling.

Glasgow's trees matter and our Green budget proposals will provide funding to develop a Tree Replacement Fund to ensure that trees are available to improve public realm, biodiversity, and air quality across the city. The Council needs to plant more trees to help combat Climate Change, prevent flooding, improve health and wellbeing, encourage wildlife, and increase resilience against pests and diseases.

Glasgow’s Parks matter and we have committed resources to improve community engagement in our public parks. The Council needs to increase the number of staff who can promote parks and seek to work with residents groups, community organisations and health staff to facilitate outdoor physical activity, food growing and greenspace volunteering. This promotion can be supported by the emerging Parks and Open Spaces Vision and the Sport and Active Glasgow group.Green flags for public parks are prioritised and additional support for green flag applications to promote public parks is provided. This can sustain existing 6 green flags at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Green, Hogganfield Park, Linn Park and Local Nature Reserve and Pollok Park. Assistance is provided to put forward an additional 2 parks, most likely be Cathkin Braes Country Park and Alexandra Park, since these already have management plans and recent investment. 

In terms of allotments, additional staffing is provided to support new sites to alleviate waiting lists and support delivery of community empowerment by the Council. There are additional statutory duties to be carried out by Local Authorities as introduced by the Community Empowerment Act. The key focus of additional staffing is in relation to preparation of the Food Growing Strategy, annual reporting to Scottish Ministers, engagement with people on allotment waiting lists, and project work in support of new allotment sites.