Pressure on Euro cities to think green

An environmental roadshow kicks off in Glasgow this month, aiming to bring ‘sustainable’ development to the heart of Europe’s cities. Peter Ross examines its demands, and the Government’s response to them. Meanwhile, (right) Conchita Pinto says projects for the Millennium are failing to match up to the needs of the future.

Music. theatre and art are to be used to prick the conscience of European cities accused of wasting environmental resources. The Sustainable Europe Tour will cross the continent this summer. promoting a vision of an environmentally sustainable society. But the road show‘s main demand. that everyone reduce their energy and resource consumption by 75 per cent. seems unlikely to find ready acceptance.

Scotland is the first date on a tour which will include Germany, Sweden. and the Czech Republic. The launch in Glasgow‘s St Enoch Square on 1 June. features theatre. stalls and perfomance workshops on ecological themes. while a city centre street party is scheduled for 3 June.

Sustainable Europe believes cultural expression can open people up to less materialistic values. Warren Canham. an organiser for the British leg ofthe tour. says the controversial 75 per cent target is essential to prevent disasters such as global warming.

"We are keen to stress quality of lifestyle.‘ he says. You can reduce energy consumption by 75 per cent and still have a good life. but we need to share our resources more.‘

The Government claims it is taking sustainable development seriously. The Scottish Office has just launched Forward Scotland (FS). an initiative which will work on issues such as employment. transport. waste minimisation and energy conservation.

Concrete plans are thin on the ground. however. FS executive director. George Chalmers says: ‘We're actually going to ask the community what they think the issues are. then try to help communities work up their projects.‘

He believes a 75 per cent reduction in consumption is too simplistic a target. ‘You've got to consider the social consequences of bland statistics.‘ he says.

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Eco-campaigners: on a mission to save Europe

Scots millennium plans under attack

Lottery-funded millennium projects have been criticised for being environmentally harmful and failing to meet the needs of local communities.

A proposed arts. sport and concert megaau'ena for

Glasgow Green is one of several proposed millennium

projects accused of ignoring the need to preserxe resources. Edinburgh plans such as the development of the Calton Hill and Water of Leith areas have also come under fire.

Environmental and community organisations saw the

multi~million pound projects as an opportunity for the new councils to demonstrate their commitment to Agenda 2 l. the sustainability guidelines adopted by the UK and other governments at IWZ's liarth Summit in Rio.

But instead of consulting the public and addressing the problems ahead. councils have been accused of employing private consultants to come up with

grandiose schemes which environmental lobbyists say

will add to the congestion of the cities and ignore the needs of communities.

When the Government signed up to Agenda 2 I. it gave local authorities until this year to adopt the guidelines. However. a recent Friends of the Earth

survey of all 56 Scottish local authorities revealed that

the directives have either been designated low priority or ignored alltogether. Community groups have condemned the councils in

lidinburgh and Glasgow for failing to make sustainability a central plank in lottery~funded millennium project bids. lan Bogle ofthe watchdog organisation Glasgow For People is suspicious of the Glasgow Green proposal. ‘Planning restrictions forbid building on Glasgow Green. which is an 800 year-old piece of common land owned by the citizens of Glasgow. Council leader Pat Lally pledged it would never be developed. but this seems like a sneaky way round the restrictions,‘ he said. ‘As far as l'm aware there has been no consultation with local communities to find out ifthey want this scheme'

However Glasgow City Council environmental officer Brian Atkinson hopes the arena will attract ‘stars of the calibre of Tina Turner". He also points out that when not being used as a concert venue. the building will be available to the local community for the same fee as other council—run leisure facilities.

Rab Fulton of Residents Against The M74 disagrees. "This is another grandiose proposal which depends on pollution-producing motorway networks.‘ he argues. ‘The reality for us is that front-line community and health centres serving the socially deprvied in our society are being closed down in their dozens. I doubt if visits frorn Tina Turner and the like are going to compensate for that.‘

And finally. . . Soccer bosses and other rogues hit the screen

If American movies are to be believed,

question. however. is whether Gibson would have managed to avoid

Princes Street. This idea seems to have all-party

the attraction of drive-ins is making out on the back seat. but the Glasgow audience at the Mayfest screening of Brave/tear! seems to have missed the point they wanted to watch the film. So imagine their surprise. when car stereos tuned to the soundtrack of Mel Gibson‘s tale of hairy-arsed heroism picked up a German radio station instead.

Complaints came flooding in from the ZOOO-strong audience on Glasgow Green. but opportunities for Teutonic confusion are almost surreal. Did William Wallace rally troops for battle with the English, with the rousing enjoinder ‘lch bin ein Highlander"? Or maybe as he reached a touching romantic scene. the pig-tailed Mel whispered in a seductive Bavarian brogue that faintly smutty sweet nothing. ‘lch licbe dich.‘ The real

mentioning the war. . .

Sticking with the movies. Jock Tamson‘s favourite bairn Sean Connery is the first choice to play Scots soccer boss Sir Matt Busby who saw his legendary Manchester L'nited side of the 50s wiped out in the Munich air disaster. While they're at it. perhaps now is the time to make a screen star ofcurrent Man U boss Alex Ferguson. He has been nicknamed ‘Taggart' by the squad due to his permanently cheerful demeanour. TV detectives Jardine and Reid could no doubt do with a little ray of sunshine down at the nick since the departure of Mark McManus to the great community policing conference in the sky.

Less delighted at a starring role on screen will be the ‘method' actors caught by the security cameras Edinburgh‘s new council wants to

s, j A Connery: in managerial mode instal in the city‘s troublespots. Funding for the £120,000 scheme is being sought from the Scottish Office's CCTV Challenge scheme as a way of tackling violent crime on the mean streets of lidinburgh 7 identified as Lothian Road. the Grassmarket and

support with councillors of all political persuasions wanting to be seen to be tough on crime. ‘I do not see CCTV as a long-term solution to the problems of society. but it is useful as a short term measure.‘ Labour convener Keith Geddes told The .S'mtsmmr.

Meanwhile Glasgow, which has already installed security cameras. is facing a cash crisis for its own City Watch scheme. While CCTV was intended to make the city centre safer for shoppers. many local businesses have failed to contribute to running costs. A National Lottery application is being considered but would security cameras count as sport. arts or heritage? Perhaps it could apply as a post-modernist installation charting the disintegration oftraditional urban communities in a consumer-obsessed society. Or maybe the council will just have to stump up. (Eddie Gibb)

The List 31 May-l3 Jun I996 5