Scottish Parliament committee consider petition calling for M8 in Glasgow to be removed

A petition which calls for the removal of the M8 in the centre of Glasgow has been considered by the Scottish Parliament.

An update on the controversial petition, which signed by more than 1500 people, is now to be considered by the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee.

Taking place today (23 February), the outcome was that MSPs on the committee agreed to ask for more detailed submissions on the subject from stakeholders including Transport Scotland and Glasgow City Council.

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said: “"Glasgow is the only city in the Western world, apart from Detroit, which had a million people living in it and then declined.

"It lost a third of its population in the space of 30 years, from 1960 to 1990. So the urban blight caused by the motorway, along with adjacent redevelopment, continues to have a negative impact on the city and on the environment."

Sweeney also pointed to a recent noise pollution survey that found that the level of noise at Charing Cross was the equivalent of standing on the runway at Glasgow Airport.

What is the petition?

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The petition, launched by social media account ‘replacetheM8’, is calling on Holyrood to urge to the Scottish Government to commission an independent feasibility study looking at reducing the impact of the M8 in the centre of Glasgow.

The section of motorway focused on by the petition is between the M74 and Glasgow Cathedral.

The petition wants the study to look at various scenarios, in particular the complete removal of the motorway and repurposing the land.

Why do they want the M8 removed?

The petition organiser states that the land currently occupied by the M8 could be repurposed, creating new buildings, parks and walkable streets.

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One draft plan shows that new blocks - used for housing, businesses and shops - could be built on the section in Anderston and Charing Cross, while new parkland could be created along the northern section of the road.

The M8 would end at junction 15, next to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Speaking to STV News, Scott Galloway, a supporter of Replace the M8, said: "I’d love to see a green corridor that exists all the way from the river, all the way up to the north of the city.

“That would include boulevardisation, lots of street trees, making it a very accessible and friendly environment for people to use.”

What happens now?

A briefing for the committee argues that other major cities, such as Seoul and San Francisco, have successfully removed urban motorways.

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The report states that the Scottish Government has not considered the removal of this section of the M8, however, it has committed to reducing car travel in Scotland.

It also states that the Scottish Parliament has not considered the removal of this section of the M8.