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Glasgow City Council

Chief Executive - latest update

3 May 2023

We're less than a month away from the full enforcement of Glasgow's first Low Emission Zone - one of the most significant permanent public health interventions made in recent years.

From 1 June, almost every vehicle entering the city centre will have to comply with modern engine standards, designed to cut pollution and make the air that we breathe cleaner and healthier.

The LEZ can have a positive environmental impact. It can encourage people to choose a less polluting vehicle, or to switch to public transport or active travel for trips to or through the city centre.

These choices can all support our journey to Net Zero. But, first and foremost, the LEZ is a public health measure.

One of the many myths you will see or hear raised in opposition to low emission zones is that they just aren't necessary because Scotland has some of the cleanest air in the world.

While I might wish that were true, it just isn't. Our air quality might be far from the worst in the world, but the fact is that levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide recorded in our city centre are not only damaging to health but breach legal limits.

That can have a horrible impact on our most vulnerable people, their health and their quality of life. Our own friends, neighbours, families and colleagues.

Worse, research suggests poor air quality contributes to around 300 premature deaths in the city every year.

Of course, there are scores of things that are perfectly legal that can shorten our lives; but most of them - smoking, a poor diet, heavy drinking - are things that we do to ourselves, not things that we have no choice but to deal with whenever we step over the door.

I know some people feel the pace of change quick and they have concerns about the impact on their choice of transport - but, stepping back, the necessary measures we are taking have certainly not come out of nowhere.

The UK got its first low emissions zone in 2008, in London - and, since then, there have been discussions about whether and how to introduce measures in Scottish cities, including Glasgow.

In 2015, the city was cited in a Supreme Court ruling on air quality in the UK which demanded urgent action to tackle pollution.

And it has been clear since before the Scottish Government provided the legislation and guidance necessary to push forward with low emission zones in 2017 that leaders in Glasgow would seek to introduce restrictions.

That has been a gradual process - focusing first on buses - allowing the rest of us time to plan ahead for enforcement. In the meantime, cities across Europe have been making similar changes and are starting to see the benefits.

Glasgow's LEZ is no surprise - it has, arguably, been nearly 15 years in the making. I suspect that, in 15 years from now, it will be hard to imagine our city centre any other way.

5 April 2023

The local government workforce is responsible for delivering so many crucial services in our communities that it can be difficult for many people to appreciate quite how often they come into contact with their local council.

People will use roads and pavements, lighting and public spaces maintained by the council every day - but they may be less aware of work that underpins the city's economic wellbeing; even how they work and shop and where they spend leisure time.

Services like social care may not feel like a big presence in every life or even every family - but, to those that rely on them, they are absolutely fundamental.

Some, like cleansing or refuse services, are much more visible. And others are so much part of our daily lives that you feel that everyone must be aware of them.

Education is one of the greatest responsibilities we have - to young people, families and our wider communities.

So, it is really pleasing to be able to share a success story on behalf of Glasgow's young people.

New figures from Skills Development Scotland reveal that more of our senior pupils than ever before are entering higher and further education, employment, or training after leaving schools.

In fact, more than 97% of leavers went on to positive destinations - with pupils from four schools, Glasgow Gaelic School; Hyndland Secondary; Lochend High and St. Roch's Secondary, achieving 100%.

I'm so proud of everyone - most of all, our school and head office education staff - for the work they do to support young people and help them achieve their potential.

These figures would be a cause for some satisfaction under any circumstances - but for the city's young people to record its best ever results after three extremely challenging years is extra sweet.

It seems clear that the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on young people, but to achieve these results in the face of such disruption is testament to their resilience and that of their teachers and mentors.

This success is also no fluke. This is the second year in a row Glasgow has outperformed the national average for positive destinations - and builds on many years of hard work, from education staff and pupils alike

It reflects the effort schools have put in to developing the young workforce and working with partners to engage young people in vocational and employability programmes.

And it validates our commitment to supporting vulnerable young people both while still in school and in college - helping them to raise not only their qualifications, but their aspirations and their appetite to continue their education.

These destinations for young people matter. There is little we can do that will have a greater positive impact on the lives of young Glaswegians - the opportunities they will have and the health of future generations - than to see them on a positive path as they leave school.

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