Glasgow University Back-pedals on Climate Emergency

Glasgow University recently became the first University in Scotland to declare a climate emergency, stating “we are affirming our belief that urgent action is needed to tackle climate change.” (1).

However the £1bn campus redevelopment plans have failed to future-proof transport-links around campus. Many staff, students and commuters have been left disappointed by the absence of a safe route for cycling on University Avenue.  Consequently the petition for University Avenue to include such provision has now achieved over 500 signatures (2).

Alvaro Perez Guardiola, a student at the university commented “The poor excuse of a cycle lane on University Avenue is simply unacceptable –  painted on, narrow, used as parking spots in some places… you’d think the Council would want to follow their Climate Emergency Declaration with real action to prioritise active commute!”

Initiatives to get more people on their bikes have long focused on the considerable health benefits. Recently the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) report made specific reference to walking and cycling as a pathway to help ensure the planet remains habitable (3). Yet Glasgow retains one of lowest rates of cycling amongst European cities (4).

John Donnelly Co-Convenor of GoBike,the Strathclyde Cycle Campaign stated “After years spent struggling to secure space for people of all ages and abilities to cycle on Byres Road, we genuinely believed that Glasgow had turned a corner in terms of sustainable transport.”  

“However, you literally turn the corner at Byres Road and we are having to make the same arguments all over again. Research consistently shows that the greatest barrier to cycling in this country is safety. The fact that the University of Glasgow is choosing to ignore this makes a mockery of their climate commitments (5).

“GoBike is calling for University Avenue to be made safe for cycling so anyone of age and ability who wants to cycle has the opportunity to do so safely.”