25 green facts about Glasgow, ahead of COP26

The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow next month when the city hosts COP26.

World leaders will descend on the city in November to discuss the climate crisis and actions that can be taken.

But Glasgow is also doing its own bit to help, pledging to become the UK’s first Net Zero carbon city by 2030.

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Here are 25 green facts about Glasgow.

1. The name Glasgow comes from the Gaelic word ‘Glasghu’ meaning ‘Dear Green Place’.

2. The city more than lives up to its name with over 90 parks and gardens, eight of which have won the UK’s coveted Green Flag award.

3. At 32 per cent, Glasgow has the second largest proportion of green space for its residents of any European city.

4. It is predicted that there will be £1.5 billion of new investments in low-carbon and renewable energy fields in Glasgow the next 10 years.

5. The Glasgow region has over 12,000 renewable energy sites, producing nearly 4,000,000 MWh of energy annually – more than any other UK city.

6. Among more than 500 global cities, Glasgow is the city least vulnerable to the effects of climate change and has the 4th lowest exposure to environmental risks overall.

7. The city is the third most green place to work and live in the UK. Glasgow was ranked against other cities on the supply of environmentally friendly office space; ultra-low emissions vehicle usage; access to electric vehicle charging stations; supply of cycle parking spaces at rail stations and air quality.

8. The £154 million Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre takes 90 per cent of the waste that would have gone to landfill and turns it into renewable electricity, making a substantial contribution to the decarbonisation of Glasgow’s electricity.

9. In 2017, Glasgow Convention Bureau became the first ever Convention Bureau to win a Green Tourism Award and was the first convention bureau in the world to join Tourism Declares, which launched in January 2020 as a voluntary initiative to align tourism and travel with the target to cut global emissions in half by 2030.

10. Glasgow is ranked the 4th most sustainable conference destination in the world and the only UK city to be included in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS–Index).

11. Prior to the pandemic, Glasgow hosted 20 energy, sustainability and low carbon industry-related conferences over a 24-month period, boosting the city’s economy by more than £23 million.

12. The Climate Neutral Innovation District, an ambitious multi-stakeholder project to create a 100 per cent renewable climate neutral and climate resilient area around Merchant City and High Street, is being created.

13. Glasgow’s Smart Canal is one of only a few such schemes in the world and uses sensors and predictive weather technology to provide early warning of wet weather before moving excess rainfall into the Forth & Clyde Canal in the north of the city.

14. A £10.5 million funding package is allowing Glasgow to purchase 19 hydrogen-powered refuse collection vehicles, which means that Glasgow will become home to the largest fleet of hydrogen-powered bin lorries in the world.

15. Glasgow City Council also seeks to create a fleet of zero emission vehicles by the end of 2029. More than 100 new electric cars are already in use and work is ongoing to convert up to 20 smaller lorries to dual fuel hydrogen.

16. The Clyde Gateway project saw contaminated and derelict land in the east end transformed into the Athletes Village at Dalmarnock for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Low-carbon district heating systems provide heat to 700 highly energy efficient homes, as well as to the Emirates Arena, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, and a 120-bed care home.

17. The Clyde Climate Forest will see 18 million trees – ten trees per resident - planted in both urban and rural parts of Glasgow City Region over the next decade, delivering a broad range of climate and ecological benefits.

18. Whitelee Windfarm is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and the second largest in Europe. Located just 20 minutes from central Glasgow, its 215 turbines generate up to 539 megawatts of electricity, enough to power over 350,000 homes.

19. Cathkin Wind Turbine is a 3MW wind turbine that stands atop the Cathkin Braes, next to the mountain bike track installed for the XX Commonwealth Games in 2014. The turbine was a joint venture between Glasgow City Council and SSE and provides renewable electricity onto the Glasgow electricity grid, contributing to the decarbonisation of the city’s electricity supply.

20. Glasgow has been investing in Solar PV for the last 10 years, with solar arrays on the roofs social housing, primary schools, office buildings, and soon to be atop multistorey car parks, providing renewable energy for electric vehicle charging.

21. A Low Emission Zone, created in Glasgow city centre, is expected to help to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and other internal combustion sourced pollutants, which will improve air quality and make Glasgow a cleaner, healthier and more pleasant place to be.

22. The 177 Bothwell Street development is set to be Glasgow’s largest and most sustainable office building. It will be fully electric with zero carbon emissions - powered by 100 per cent renewable energy from a nearby wind farm.

23. It was the first city in the UK to sign the Circular Cities Declaration, which is designed to help accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy in Europe, and thereby create a resource-efficient, low-carbon and socially responsible society.

24. Glasgow is in the process of investing £1.1 billion over 35 years to expand the Glasgow & Clyde Valley Green Network.

25. Glasgow is one of just four regions to trial a world-leading scheme, due to high local demand for public Electric Vehicle chargers. Residents can take part in the UK’s first on-street smart metering charging EV charging scheme – Agile Streets – to save hundreds of pounds a year and support the green energy revolution.