COP26: Poor lighting in parks due to 'environmental considerations' Glasgow City Council claim

Glasgow City Council has said that it is not common to provide lighting in parks across the city for environmental reasons, despite concerns raised for the safety of people having to walk through the areas at night.

The comment comes after head of communications at the council, Colin Edgar, told Radio Clyde News that city parks are “not places for people to be in the evening.”

He said they do not encourage people to use parks during the night because they operate differently to how they do during the day.

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Mr Edgar’s comments were in response to concerns raised over police officers directing people, lone women included, into Kelvingrove park on Monday evening amid road closures for the COP26 climate summit currently taking place in Glasgow.

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Police Scotland apologised for the actions and said it would add additional patrols if last-minute diversions are required again.

Mr Edgar added that the extensive amount of lighting required to make a park feel safe to someone in the hours of darkness is “not compatible” with the nature that thrives and lives in the areas. This includes nocturnal birds, bats and pollinators.

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Following Mr Edgar’s comments, a council spokeswoman said on Thursday: “It is not common practice to provide lighting within any of our parks due to environmental considerations and to ensure as natural a habitat as possible for local wildlife.”

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COP26: Poor lighting in parks due to 'environmental considerations' Glasgow City Council claim.

Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said: "It is not fair or right that people who live in Glasgow are taking the blunt end of the effects of COP26. At a time when the eyes of the world are on Glasgow, the very people who live and work here are being totally forgotten about. Worse still, we are being denied proper access to our own city.

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“The idea that we should not be using parks after dark is ridiculous. It is going to get dark at 16.30 in Glasgow tonight. How does Glasgow City Council expect people to walk home from their place of work if their route is through a park? I do not see why the Council can't do the right thing and light up the main paths of the park to provide a safer and more accessible route for pedestrians."

Dr Patrycja Kupiec, CEO, of the Young Women’s Movement Scotland (YWCA Scotland) said that it is time for the council to listen to those who live there and answer calls for how the city can be safer and more accessible to everyone.

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She told the Scotsman: “We were disturbed to hear stories of women being forced to walk through Kelvingrove Park in the dark on Monday evening due to COP26 street closures and the response from Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland has been equally disturbing.

"Saying that parks are not places to be in the evening, as an excuse to ignore repeated calls for better lighting in public spaces is simply not good enough.”

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The group recently published a report into feminist town planning in Glasgow with a specific focus on how women and non-binary people use parks and buses in the city.

It revealed that 95 per cent of respondents did not feel safe in Glasgow parks at night, with 81 per cent calling for better lighting to combat that fear.

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She continued: “Parks are public spaces with many uses, not least as a thoroughfare often providing the quickest routes to get from A to B.

"To dismiss these spaces as purely for daytime recreational use is unrealistic and clearly rooted in a desire not to have to discuss the very real issue of how we make Glasgow's parks safer.

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“It's time for Glasgow City Council to listen to the people who live there and to answer the calls for how the city can be safer and more accessible for everyone.

"COP26 has exacerbated the existing challenges and with a global spotlight on the city of Glasgow, now is the time to act."

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