The Scottish cities with a vision for going green

This year, Glasgow will hold the UN Climate change summit drawing global attention to Scotland. But what are Scottish cities doing to tackle climate change and become green? 

Glasgow 

Glasgow was the first Scottish city to introduce a low-emission zone.

More improvements have been made in the past year, such as two new camera-controlled bus gates either side of Central Station.

One of the council's latest plans is to limit vehicles around George Square as part of multi-million project that could ultimately ban parking in the area entirely.

A public consultation held over October and November last year showed huge public support for less traffic, more pedestrian areas and more green spaces for relaxing

Next week the council will consider a proposal to fully pedestrianise the east and west sides of the square - at the City Chambers and Merchants House, respectively.

The north and south sides would allow public transport and cyclists. If approved this phase could be in place before the UEFA European Football Championships in June.

Further permanent works could also be carried out after the summer of 2023 to improve connectivity just beyond the square, costing an additional £3m.

Aberdeen

There are also a number of ongoing projects in Aberdeen aimed at both cutting traffic and breathing new life into one of the city's most historic spaces.

Aberdeen City Council are considering plans to ban vehicles from certain streets overnight in order to make them safer and "more welcoming".

The ban would apply between 22:00-05:00 on certain areas off Union Street, which runs through the heart of the city.

Certain exemptions would include emergency vehicles and cyclists.

Meanwhile, Union Terrace Gardens - a historic park and thoroughfare - is in the middle of a £25.7 million refurbishment, including new walkways, an amphitheatre, a play area, cafe, and improved toilets.

It is expected to be completed in the summer of next year.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh has rolled out a number of green projects in the past year with several more on the horizon.

It became the first city in the UK to join the Open Streets movement by closing certain areas of the Old Town between midday and 17:00 on the first Sunday of each month.

By the end of 2020 it is hoped that the capital will introduce Scotland's second low emission zone, which means older cars will have to pay to enter the city centre.

Another broader city-wide zone would apply to buses, coaches and commercial vehicles.

And earlier this month the council published plans for radical changes over the next 10 years to make the city carbon neutral.

If the proposals go ahead, large portions of Edinburgh would become pedestrianised, George Street would be shut to vehicles by 2025 and the tram network extended by the end of the decade.

Along with Glasgow, Edinburgh is the only other Scottish city to signal that it would introduce the workplace parking levy.

Dundee

Dundee will be one of the first cities in Scotland to see the introduction of electric bin lorries on its streets, making their debut in April. 

The repowered refuse vehicles are part of the council’s drive to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet.

In addition to the two lorries, the council also plan to introduce two fully electric minibuses and a large mechanical sweeper.

Dundee has also launched the city’s climate action plan in December, a project which aims to target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for Dundee by 2045 or sooner.

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