Glasgow unveils dear green plans

THE plans unveiled yesterday to turn Glasgow into one of the most environmentally sustainable cities in the world are extremely ambitious in terms of their scope and objectives, which, if they are achieved, will make the dear green place very green indeed.

According to the 1.5 billion blueprint, produced by the city council in partnership with a mix of public bodies and private companies, Glasgow will be transformed into a beacon of urban environmentalism. If the plan comes to fruition, then Glasgow will have congestion charging, fewer city centre parking spaces, council tax reductions for one-car families, new urban woodlands, wind turbines and canals and rivers generating electricity.

The city is to be applauded for its vision, but it is important not to get too carried away on a wave of green euphoria and think about some of the practical implications of the implementation of these policies on a city emerging, like the rest of the country, from recession. To take one example: although large numbers of people travel to shop in Glasgow's city centre by public transport, the reduction in car parking spaces might have a detrimental effect on traders.

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But above all there is the 1.5bn cost of the project. There is no indication of where the money will come from to affect this transformation, with – so far at least – warm words but no funds forthcoming from the Scottish Government. It may yet be that this grand vision will be too dear to turn Glasgow green.