Glasgow — the most populous city in Scotland, fourth largest in the United Kingdom, and friendliest in the world according to the 2022 Time Out Index — is one of Europe’s greenest cities. The name “Glasgow” in Gaelic literally means “Dear Green Place,” and Glaswegians have a long and proud history of protecting their parks and green spaces. There are nearly 100 such spaces in the city, which ranks second among large UK cities for its percentage of land classified as green space at 32%.
Building on this heritage, Glasgow plans to take the percentage of green space higher, and it has developed complementary plans and policies for sustainability and resilience. Its Open Space Strategy 2020 laid out a long-term vision for the city and provided a framework for the development of action plans on local biodiversity protection, food growing, and sports and recreation. This was followed in 2021 with a commitment to develop the Clyde Climate Forest — 18 million trees (10 trees per resident) planted in and around the city, in order to restore woodland connectivity and habitat, increase the urban tree canopy, and increase local carbon sequestration to help the city meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2030. A Sustainable Procurement Strategy and City Food Plan also followed, the latter focused on delivering a food system that is fair, resilient, and environmentally sustainable.
In November 2021, Glasgow also grabbed the world’s attention as the host city of COP26, where world leaders signed the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use. The declaration recognized the critical roles of all forest types in enabling life on Earth and the requirement for transformative action in systems of production and consumption, and for support for communities who depend upon and steward forests globally. The event also occasioned Glasgow City Council’s commitment to the Cities4Forests network and Glasgow’s Partner Forest program.
“Glasgow has signed up and made a commitment to be part of the Cities4Forests network, and as part of that commitment we’ve agreed not only to grow our own forests here in the city and inner-city region, to plant more trees, to be good stewards of our trees and forests here in the city, but also to be sustainable procurers of wood from around the world. So whether we are building homes or schools or using wood here in the city, we will make sure that we will only use sustainable wood from around the world, so we are not only supporting forests and trees here in Glasgow, but all over the world, and especially in the parts of the world where the trees are part of the lungs of the planet and are one of our most precious resources in fighting climate change.”
Leader of the Glasgow City Council, spoken at the signing of the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use