Councillor claims Glasgow is “manky beyond belief”

Huge piles of rubbish under the M8.Huge piles of rubbish under the M8.
Huge piles of rubbish under the M8.
Glasgow has been described as “manky beyond belief” as councillors agreed to work together in a bid to tackle the city’s cleansing crisis.

Opposition councillors at Glasgow City Council said the problem of litter on Glasgow’s streets had deteriorated further as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the environment committee meeting Baillie Kyle Thornton said: “Many Glaswegians would feel that our priority should be making our city the best it can be and to create an environment that is good for us all. At the moment I don’t see any plans to talk to this committee about that.

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“What we need is a policy change because whatever we are doing now isn’t working, our role isn’t to scrutinise the here and now but to look at council policy going forward.”

But members of the administration and council officers have disagreed with the term “cleansing crisis” with a further £14 million invested in the cleansing department for hydrogen powered bin lorries at the most recent budget meeting.

Council officer Andy Waddell pointed out that Covid-19 put a restriction on some cleansing services which are quickly being restored to pre-covid levels.

But Councillor Matt Kerr argued that the city is not at its best.

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He said: “We have gone through a major crisis and that has impacted on absence rates [within the cleansing department].

“Two years ago and more we were sitting at this committee talking about high rates of absences at some of our depots.

“It is obvious that there is an underlying structural problem. For all the efforts, there is still something we are not getting right and that’s not because people aren’t trying.

“We have to look at past policy to decide what is working and what is not as elected representatives. I think a paper laying out what we are doing and the structural problems within the department and then how to move on would be very useful to help make this city all it can be.”

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His colleague Jim Kavanagh agreed, pointing out there had been issues within the department before the pandemic.

He said: “We had manpower and funding resource problems. The city at present is manky beyond belief.

“We need to work together to move on as there is no easy answer to this. Glasgow has got a major problem. Soon Cop26 will be hosted here and there will be certain areas that are spotless.

“Then we will go to the real Glasgow that’s manky because we don’t have the resources to fix it. We have an environmental problem. This is not the Glasgow we know.”

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Chairman councillor Allan Young responded: “We need to have a broader conversation about resources and the challenges we face. We have been developing the resource and strategy committee and there will be updates throughout the year.”

Members agreed that a paper which focuses on solutions and learns about the difficulties within the cleansing department needs to be brought before the environment committee.

An update will be brought before the committee at a later date.