Campaigners want M8 scrapped and replaced with urban boulevard

The activists want to remove Scotland's busiest motorway from Glasgow city centre.

Campaigners are calling for Scotland’s busiest motorway to be scrapped and replaced with people-friendly spaces.

The activists want to remove the M8 from Glasgow city centre and instead transform it into an urban boulevard to help promote public transport, walking and cycling.

Scott Galloway, Replace the M8 campaigner, described the stretch of motorway as a “concrete desert”.

He told STV News: “There’s nothing accessible about this space, it just feels like a completely sterile environment.

“I’d love to see a green corridor that exists all the way from the river, all the way up to the north of the city.

“That would include boulevardisation, lots of street trees, making it a very accessible and friendly environment for people to use.”

What the M8 could look like if transformed.
Glasgow: What the M8 could look like if transformed.

The M8 helps to keep the central belt moving.

According to figures from Transport Scotland, the motorway carried more than 90,000 vehicles a day last month.

Campaign group Replace the M8 are calling for an independent study to look at how the motorway could be removed from Glasgow.

Campaigner Peter Kelly said the group don’t want to stop vehicles coming into the city centre as people need to drive for work.

But he highlighted the noise and claimed it was one of the most polluted parts of Glasgow.

What the M8 could look like if transformed.
Proposal: Campaigners want to transform the M8 into an urban boulevard.

Mr Kelly said: “The question has never been asked before about whether this motorway should be here forever, particularly now that we’ve got the M74 as an alternative.

“We just don’t think that bypass traffic, that’s contributing nothing to the city centre, should be coming right through the city centre.

“So, we have asked for a study to just investigate whether Glasgow would be better off with something different here.”

However, for construction companies like the Malcolm Group, the M8 is a vital lifeline.

Chief executive Andrew Malcolm said: “We need to keep the wheels turning.

“Every cost of running goods around the country is going up – drivers wages, fuel, everything [is going up].

“We have to run the most cost-effective routes we can.

“[The M8] is a key part of the Scottish network. And believe it or not, in Scotland we think we’re quite lucky having a major city centre with two key motorway routes going around it.”

The area between the Clyde and Royston junction is 250,000 meter squared. That’s the same as 24 football pitches, which could be made to be more people-friendly.

The future of this busy road is something city planners say they’re actively considering.

Dr Andrew Hoolachan, lecturer in planning at the University of Glasgow, said: “All future planning is about thinking about ‘how can we do this differently?’.

“The real problem is if we do nothing, we won’t solve the climate crisis. If we do nothing, Glasgow will continue to be low on liveability and quality of life indexes.

“To make the city sustainable, liveable, workable, where people want to come and live, we need to address the motorway problem.”

Glasgow has ambitious net-zero targets set for 2030.

The removal of the M8 could be one of several policies decision-makers consider to lower emissions.

For now, it remains a key connector across the central belt.

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