Glasgow City Council is considering introducing the country’s first “plastic-free” shopping zone and embarking on a major tree planting programme as part of escalating efforts to tackle climate change.
Scotland’s biggest local authority is also weighing up whether to hasten its efforts to become carbon-neutral by 2030, which would bring its target forward by seven years.
Glasgow’s plastic-free shopping zone would build on the success of existing businesses ... who have developed zero waste and package-free shops.MARTHA WARDROP Scottish Green councillor
A panel tasked with formulating the city’s response to the climate crisis has also suggested the expansion of car-free zones around schools.
The cross-party climate emergency working group includes representatives from businesses and environmental activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion.
It has put forward more than 60 recommendations, which will now be discussed by the council. They include enshrining the need for space to grow food as part of any new housing developments, ensuring schools “formally engage” with pupils on the climate emergency and making a “wholesale shift” away from pension fund investments in hydrocarbons.
It is, however, the plan for a plastic-free shopping zone that represent the most eye-catching idea. According to Martha Wardrop, the Scottish Green councillor who chairs the group, it would build on initiatives such as the Zero Waste Market in the city’s Dennistoun, and Locavore, a social enterprise in Glasgow’s southside that sells loose food items.
“Glasgow’s plastic-free shopping zone would build on the success of existing businesses in the city who have developed zero waste and package-free shops selling food and products,” she said.
The group’s report emphasises the new goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030 represented a “more challenging target” in light of the need to take urgent action. However, it admits it has not had “the time or resources” to examine in detail the work required to meet the aim.
The report also called for “immediate action” to significantly increase the number of trees in Glasgow over the next five years to capture as much carbon as possible.
Robin Parker, climate and energy policy manager at independent conservation organisation WWF Scotland, said: “It’s great to see Glasgow continuing their leadership in responding to the climate emergency with this comprehensive report.
“We’re already seeing the impacts of climate change and there is no time to lose if we are to avoid the worst impacts.”