Glasgow council leader says city needs a ‘spruce up’ ahead of COP26

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has said she thinks the city needs a “spruce up”, after being challenged on the “filthy streets”.

Council leader Susan Aitken was interviewed on STV. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Ms Aitken was interviewed by STV’s Bernard Ponsonby on a range of environmental issues ahead of Glasgow hosting the COP26 summit in November.

The council leader was asked if the “streets will still be as filthy as they are today”.

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Ms Aitken responded: “I don’t think the streets are filthy. I think there are patches that are problematic, patches that need target, but, by and large, when I’m walking about, as I do all the time, the problems I see are to do with commercial waste, much of which is not the responsibility of the council.

“But where we are and do need to invest is enforcement to target that.”

She also said graffiti would be removed before the COP26 conference starts and that teams have been catching up on the issue since the start of 2021.

When asked if she was happy with the state of the streets, Ms Aitken responded: “No, I’m not saying that. I don’t think that everywhere in the city is filthy.

“We’ve got some work to do to get Glasgow looking back to its best.”

Ms Aitken said she has lived in the city for 30 years, adding: “I think there have always been challenges in Glasgow.”

When asked how she would describe state of the city, she said she thinks it needs a “spruce up as we emerge from Covid”.

She added: “I think when you walk around the city centre just now, most of what I see is the city looking pretty good. I see patches where there are problems and can see where those problems have come from.”

Ms Aitken was also questioned on Glasgow City Council’s record on recycling.

Mr Ponsonby noted that the council had a worse record on recycling than any mainland council.

“What my administration is doing is actually investing in and changing the systems that will improve - and we’re seeing improvement,” said Ms Aitken.

She said she wants to hit on the Scottish average on recycling in the next five years.

Ms Aitken also said she wants the River Clyde to create energy for homes and businesses in the city as soon as 2030 - but plans could cost as much as £30 billion.

“Where is that coming from?” responded Mr Ponsonby. “You can’t keep community centres open in this city. You can’t keep swimming pools open in this city. Where is the money coming from?”

Ms Aitken said they were working on finding the funding.