TRAFFIC may be capped on the M8 through Scotland's largest city in a bid to cut carbon emissions under plans currently being considered as a result of COP26, The Glasgow Times can reveal.

Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow city council, highlighted the proposal in a speech to an online conference yesterday about the legacy of the climate change conference, currently being held at the Scottish Events Campus.

Glasgow Times:

She also revealed she was seeking investment for a project which would use the River Clyde to generate hydropower to supply energy to heat homes.

Details of the ambitious two green schemes have not yet been released but are to be contained forthcoming strategy documents on how Glasgow is planning to reduce CO2 levels.

Further proposals are to be unveiled relating to transport around the city, insulation for housing and modifications to homes and street layout.

Glasgow Times:

"The next decade is going to be critical in putting in place the essential measures that Glasgow needs to make as a city to meet its contribution to reducing global temperatures.

"This will be physical, structural, social and economic," Aitken told the conference organised by the Mental Health Foundation.

"For example, it’ll mean changes to how we get around the city, the types of vehicles we use, changes to our streets and communities, with all but the most modern of homes needing modifying so they better hold heat and no longer rely on oil and gas.

"It means more areas being given over for trees and nature and greater opportunities for walking, cycling and wheeling and huge changes to our economy and labour market.

"And it’s about ensuring people know that terms like ‘nature-based solutions’ are about making their city a healthier, more attractive and generally better place to live."

She added that under a £30 billion ‘Greenprint for Investment’ programme the council would be inviting investors across the globe to discuss advancing the eco-friendly projects.

"The Greenprint is about interventions which reduce emissions, it’s about adapting to and mitigating climate change and protecting communities from its impact.

"And its about modernising the systems on which cities like Glasgow depend.

"But it’s also about addressing those deep-rooted social challenges from fuel poverty to poor transport, all while stimulating the city economy and recovery," she said.

"The plans include a ten billion pound retrofit of hundreds of thousands of homes across the City Region; utilising the Clyde to power new district heating networks; capping the M8 to reduce air pollution, connect our city and, create high quality public realm. And we have a plan for connectivity across the city region with the Glasgow Metro."

She said she believed there would be international interest in Glasgow in the wake of COP26 and the council wanted to make sure it was ready for inward green investment which would create jobs and improve the environment.

She said: "Global firms will likely want to use the profile of COP – particularly if we secure a Glasgow Agreement - to build bigger, stronger and more resilient business bases. And they want locations ready to embrace the necessary changes, places they can have confidence in their investments and be certain of faster economic - and indeed social - returns. But no matter how high profile or significant the inward investment – or the context in which we secure it - we will not shirk from insisting that our inclusive growth agenda remains a central consideration.

"Probably for the first time in our history we know – to a large extent – what the future will look like. Our people must be ready this time."

Around 200 people took part in the online conference.

Studies have shown the climate crisis poses a threat to mental health with lives devastated by the immediate and long term impact of losing loved ones and homes from wild fires or floods or suffering illness through poor air quality.

Glasgow Times:

Toni Giugliano, of the Mental Health Foundation, who chaired the event, said: “The psychological scars of the 1980s deindustrialisation are still visible in parts of Scotland to this day... the social, economic and political realities of those years led to premature death, including suicide and drug related deaths.

“Unemployment, poverty, inadequate housing and job insecurity remain key drivers of mental illness. To have good mental health we need to feel financially secure and live in healthy environments and communities. Anything which threatens that security can increase the likelihood of experiencing mental ill health. “That’s why our transition to net-zero must go hand in hand with the wellbeing agenda."