Glasgow ‘in no fit state’ to host COP26, claim councillors

Glasgow is set to host the UN climate conference in November.

Glasgow ‘in no fit state’ to host COP26, claim councillors iStock
There are calls to do more to tackle waste in Glasgow.

Glasgow is “in no fit state” to host the UN climate conference, it has been claimed, as the council faces criticism over waste on city streets.

It comes after images of litter strewn streets and overflowing bins were posted online.

Ahead of COP26, councillors have called for more to be done to tackle the issue.

The city council has said it will work to keep the streets clean ‘before, during and after COP26’ and said it had invested significantly in cleansing services.

“Glasgow is a midden, I have never seen the city in the state that it is in.”

Euan Blockley, Conservative councillor

Conservative councillor Euan Blockley said that the SNP administration, which runs the council, needs to learn from its mistakes before it is too late.

“The worrying thing is that the City Council is just passing the buck onto the people of Glasgow,” he said.

“The council is keen to clean up the streets for the delegates ahead of COP26 but Joe Biden and Angela Merkel don’t pay council tax.

“I’m sure the Hydro and the areas where Cop26 will be hosted will be in good condition but there are people in Glasgow living in Squalor. 

“Glasgow is a midden, I have never seen the city in the state that it is in. That’s why there is a lot of public anger but the council is denying there is a problem.”

His colleague Thomas Kerr, who launched a campaign to reverse the bulk uplift charges, added: “From rodent infestation to rampant fly-tipping and overflowing bins, the cleansing crisis in Glasgow is entirely of our SNP council’s making. 

“Unfortunately, the administration’s leadership is completely oblivious to the extent of the emergency our city faces. Glasgow is in no fit state to receive world leaders in November.”

Jon Molyneux of the Glasgow Greens said that while there’s an obvious desire to show Glasgow at its best during COP26, the idea that the city will get spruced-up for visiting delegations, but not for those who live and work all year round, is one that “sticks in the craw”.

He said: “We do need to keep tackling litter and fly tipping. People who dump their rubbish aren’t just committing crimes, they are putting a burden on all of us, who pay through our taxes to clean it up.

“The council can do more, through education and by using the enforcement powers it has, to stop this at source.  It also has a duty to ensure it is not inadvertently adding to the problem through poorly designed or delivered services.”

Glasgow City Council said it will ensure all available resources are focused on supporting the city’s environment before, during and after COP26.

A spokesman for the council said: “Each year Glasgow spends around £100m on environmental protection with waste collection and disposal accounting for most of this budget.

“By head of population Glasgow spends twice the national average on street cleansing and our budget for street cleansing is year on year significantly greater than any comparable Scottish local authority.

“The overall cleansing budget, which also includes refuse collection and waste disposal, has risen by 20% in the past six years.

“We have also been investing significantly in our cleansing service with new household waste services, new street bins, new mechanical street sweepers, additional staff being introduced and new hydrogen-powered bin lorries due to follow.”

The spokesperson said that a ‘fundamental issue’ is that too many people do not dispose of their waste in an ‘appropriate manner’.

They said: “As lockdown has eased, we have again been able to support the city’s many community clean-up groups that help to build pride and resilience within our neighbourhoods.

“Sadly, as highlighted by the press, a fundamental issue is that too many people do not dispose of their waste in an appropriate manner and it is important that residents and businesses appreciate the positive difference they can make to the overall look and feel of the city.

“As we hopefully continue moving on from the pandemic, we will ensure all available resources are focused on supporting the city’s environment before, during and after COP 26.”

By local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter

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