A report from Glasgow City Council today (7 March) outlined plans for a six-month pilot project to tackle issues around commercial waste in the city centre.
Glasgow city centre's appearance can be spoiled by bulky and brightly-coloured commercial waste containers on streets, pavements and lanes. To address this, the pilot project's primary objective is to substantially reduce the adverse impact of current waste collection practices in a number of areas in the city centre, and if successful, the project will be rolled out across the whole of the city centre.
The appearance of the city centre is not the only issue that the pilot will address, as commercial waste left out on streets can cause obstructions and can contribute to spilled waste and litter. In addition, new national regulations also bring recycling requirements for commercial waste into line with domestic waste.
Other UK cities, including Edinburgh and Manchester, have successfully carried out such projects, as has the City of Westminster.
The pilot project has a number of key objectives:
(i) To reduce the amount of trade waste containers on the streets and improve the look and feel of the city centre;
(ii) To maximise the substantial capital investment already invested in Glasgow city centre and the further £115million to be spent on public realm works over the next few years via the Glasgow City Region City Deal;
(iii) To reduce the amount of litter derived from trade waste;
(iv) To encourage businesses to both manage their waste more responsibly and recycle more;
(v) To reduce public safety issues by removing tripping hazards and bins blocking footways which can potentially have a detrimental impact on visually impaired or disabled residents/visitors. The Equality Act 2010, (section 20: Duty to make adjustments) states "a duty not to indirectly discriminate and to make reasonable adjustments where existing arrangements place a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage"; and
(vi) To evaluate the impact and benefits of the project in order to make recommendations to Committee on potentially rolling out the programme across the city centre and to other city locations.
The council has engaged with key city centre stakeholders including Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the City Centre Retail Association, Sauchiehall Street Business Improvement District, and several concerned residents and independent businesses on the pilot project. There will be ongoing consultation throughout the duration of the pilot.
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "This pilot points the way forward for Glasgow city centre becoming a cleaner, greener, safer and more attractive area. The city centre is the social and economic heart of Glasgow, and a huge powerhouse for Scotland, and we will do everything we can to ensure that all those who work, live, study and visit here have the best experience that they can. We have developed this policy in consultation with city centre residents, business and organisations, and will continue to work with businesses in the city centre to deliver changes that will work for everyone with an interest in the area."
Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: "We welcome this pilot project from the council to remove the plethora of waste bins from our streets. We will be engaging with the council, the waste contractors and our members to ensure that the issue is resolved to everybody's satisfaction. Other cities have found a solution, and it shouldn't be beyond us."
Charlie Devine, Head of Resource Management with Zero Waste Scotland, said: "More and more businesses are taking steps to separate and recycle their waste, which reduces carbon emissions and helps grow the economy. This trial will ask business owners to take a few extra steps to ensure the responsible removal of their waste and improve how the city looks, including by reducing the risks of accidental littering. It's important that waste contractors engage with affected customers to help them through this change. We also have a free service, called Resource Efficient Scotland, which can advise firms on steps they can take to reduce waste in the first place, helping them to save money as well as benefitting the environment."
Emma Brown, Engagement Officer for Guide Dogs Scotland, Glasgow Mobility Team, said: "Having a clear pathway is crucial for many pedestrians who are blind or partially sighted who wish to navigate along streets independently. Street clutter such as bins can cause obstructions which can hamper a person's progress along a street. Knocking into items of street clutter is not only painful but can be a shock to a person who is blind or partially sighted, and could affect that person's confidence to use these streets and local amenities. Street clutter can also prevent people with mobility impairments such as wheelchair users and other vulnerable pedestrians from using the pavements with confidence."
Eight locations - with 422 commercial waste bins - have been selected for this pilot project that include a mix of spaces across the city centre, including streets with heavy footfall, lanes, residential areas and commercial office zones:
• Sauchiehall Street - from Cambridge Street to St George's Road at Renfrew Road;
• Sauchiehall Lane - from Elmbank Street to Hope Street;
• Robertson Street;
• West Nile Street - between Gordon Street and St Vincent Street, and including Drury Street
• Garth Street, Merchant City
• John Street, Merchant City
• North Lane
• North Court
In terms of the delivery and enforcement of this project, all commercial businesses within the project area will receive an initial flyer informing them of the changes, followed by an information pack detailing the new procedures. A member of the project team, prior to the commencement of the project, will visit premises to provide information on the changes.
All commercial waste operators will receive information, in writing, regards the changes and will be given adequate time to facilitate and manage the procedures. Contractors will also be invited to attend a meeting to discuss changes with council officers.
Arrangements for the pilot project are as follows:
• No trade waste containers will be permitted to be stored on public pavements/streets/lanes outwith designated uplift windows;
• Enforcement of this will follow an twelve-week engagement programme with pilot area businesses and waste contractors;
• Non-compliant waste contractors will have their bins confiscated after the designated compliance date, and stored off site by GCC;
• Waste contractors will have 28 days to collect their bins from GCC with a corresponding charge for costs incurred by the council e.g. for disposing of the waste, storage, administration;
• Any bins not collected will be disposed of by GCC after 28 days;
• It is the responsibility of businesses to find a waste contractor that will work with them to find an appropriate internal form of waste storage.
There are also the following conditions within the project:
• Within presentation times, waste will only be permitted to be placed for uplift within the specific time periods stated. Proposed presentation windows are: 07.30am - 09.30am and 17:00 - 23:00pm;
• Waste can only be on the street for a specific time (one hour);
• If the waste is not collected within the specified time period the business must return the waste to their premises;
• Waste placed on street for collection must display the business name and collection time;
• Waste may only be placed out for collection when the business is open, and never overnight;
• Waste containers must be placed as near to the edge of a business property as is possible, whilst retaining clear pedestrian access.
The council's Regeneration and the Economy Policy Development Committee noted the report, which will go before the Executive Committee for approval next week (16 March).