Concerns 'too many trees' making city inaccessible for disabled people

Councillor Robert Mooney wants the local authority to work with charities to ensure tree planting 'won't act as a barrier'.

Councillor raises concerns ‘too many trees’ making Glasgow inaccessible for disabled people Google Maps

A Glasgow councillor is worried that planting too many trees could make city centre streets inaccessible to those living with disabilities – particularly sight loss. 

Labour councillor Robert Mooney is encouraging council officers to engage with charities like the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to make sure this won’t act as a barrier.

It comes after a report was brought before members of the net zero committee, which highlighted the number of trees planted since 2018/19 sits at 69,620.

Areas that have benefited from the scheme include Cathkin Braes, Trinley Braes, Drakemire Drive, Tollcross Park, Kings Park, King George V Park and Shannon Street. 

But concerns were raised about how this would affect people visiting the city centre. 

Councillor Robert Mooney said: “You will not be surprised to hear me say that I have concerns about planting trees all over the city centre.

“I have mentioned many times about how inaccessible streets in Glasgow are becoming for people with disabilities, especially people with sight loss. We already have the cycle paths and the floating bus stops and if people with 2020 vision don’t recognise there’s a problem there – I don’t know what to do about that.

“As somebody who lives it everyday – it is a major problem. We have got pavements that are broken and inaccessible and we are going to now plant trees all over the city.

“I am not saying not to have trees in the city, but make sure you are talking to the right people and they aren’t going to become a barrier to people with disabilities. 

“I don’t see anything in this document recognising there is potential for a problem there. Who are we talking to to make sure these trees are going in the right place?

“Have we spoken to the RNIB?”

A council officer highlighted that the planting of trees in the city centre was part of the avenues programme and the designs were reviewed regularly.

They said: “We are looking at tree planting across the city, but in relation to the city centre this will form part of the avenues project and as you are aware we do have the accessible and inclusive design forum.

“The trees themselves will form part of the overall design and that group meets regularly to review those designs. It doesn’t sit separately as a different piece of work and I know we have spoken about that on how we ensure that we are engaging with people correctly about that design.”

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