Monday 29 November 2010

Winter update from Land and Environmental Services

I received the following update this afternoon - if any constituents are experiencing particular problems, please feel free to contact me.

As you are aware, widespread and significant snowfalls over the weekend have resulted in considerable disruption throughout the central belt. This unseasonably cold spell has brought falls of up to 6 inches across Glasgow.

Council staff have been working around the clock in order to keep priority roads and footways open. Around 400 Council personnel have been supplemented by 100 from contractors.

A slight easing in conditions today is allowing us to treat secondary as well as priority routes. The refilling of grit bins has also been prioritised.

The weather forecast for today suggests that there will be a few snow showers around this afternoon, interspersed with sunny spells. By dusk a heavier line of showers is expected to move in from the east and some of this snow may affect Glasgow, giving local accumulations. The very cold weather looks set to continue through this week with temperatures remaining below zero both by day and by night. Many of the heavy snow showers will stick to the eastern side of Scotland leaving a lot of dry weather in the west, however, a few will blow through from time to time and could give local accumulations.

Our salt stocks remain at healthy levels at present although these will continue to be monitored closely.

The severe weather is also impacting on our cleansing operations citywide. Over the course of the weekend around 60% of refuse was lifted as normal. Refuse collection of multi-storey flats remains a priority and wheeled bins left on kerbside from the weekend are being attended to today. Local Area Teams are also attempting to uplift refuse from wheeled bins presented on kerbside and backcourt areas. Due to ongoing hazards presented by the snow and ice, additional parks and street cleansing operatives are being utilised to grit roads and footways to allow safe access in advance of refuse collection teams reaching these addresses.

At the moment, bulk and tenement blue bin recycling uplifts are suspended as these resources have been redeployed to assist with the core priorities of refuse collection. Street cleansing operations are also restricted to clearing shop-front areas and gritting of priority footways at this time.

Wednesday 24 November 2010


I started this post the other day, but it has suddenly become much more topical! The latest news is that although grit has been spread on the major routes around the city, temperatures of down to -8 degrees have made the grit less effective. It should begin to work better as the temperature increases.

I attended a presentation last Friday by Land and Environmental Services on their
Winter Maintenance Plan. This set out the practical steps the Council will take to try and keep the roads and main pavements clear of snow and ice over the months ahead.

The Council bases its actions on weather forecasts, which are received through the day and into the evening. Gritters are then deployed using very high-tech devices - similar to sat nav - which ensure that the gritters stay on their route, don't miss any areas, and even more impressively, don't grit the same areas twice. The technology controls the spreading mechanism at the back of the gritter, so if you see one driving about the city not spraying out grit, it's because it's on its way somewhere else. This means the Council doesn't waste grit and ensures that the stocks we have will last longer. I was reassured to hear though that Glasgow's stocks of grit are high, having been replenished over the summer months.

Councillors were also given a list of frequently asked questions, which I thought would be useful to put on here:


A1 The Council has agreed a set of priorities in the event of snow or ice on road surfaces being forecast.

Top priority is given to:-

· Major Bus Routes;

· Junctions;

· Emergency Facility Access Routes.

      Lowest priority is given to:-

· Parks;

· Private Roads.

      A list of agreed precautionary treatment targets can be found in our Winter Maintenance Plan along with treatment priorities in the continued presence of snow or ice on the City’s roads within normal working hours.


A2. Land & Environmental Services has a contract with the Metreological Office to supply weather forecasts for Glasgow each day from the beginning of October until mid May.

The Service has also installed ice stations at 5 selected locations within the City which, together with the facility to access 15 other stations in adjacent authorities, help to improve the accuracy of forecasts. Staff can access information from these stations via portable computers.

Pre-gritting operations are undertaken from the beginning of November until the end of March on a standby arrangement. Ad hoc gritting is done outwith this period.


A3. Yes. A list of our footway treatment priorities can be found in our Winter Maintenance Plan.


A4. You can visit a Land & Environmental Services’ Depot and pick up some salt (maximum 10 kgs) or take salt from one of approximately 500 bins located around the City.


A5. Grit bin locations have been agreed with local communities. Further details of the Council’s policy on grit bins can be found in the Council Minutes.

If you want to request that a bin be relocated, please contact Land & Environmental Services.


A6. Check if your road is covered by the criteria for pre-gritting as per Section 3 of the Winter Maintenance Plan. Roads outwith the priority criteria will be treated in accordance with Section 3.3.1 in the Winter Maintenance Plan.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Living Streets

I participated in a 'Living Streets' audit in the Calton area last week - it was interesting to hear all the views of a range of local residents about the problems they perceive in the streets where they live and the improvements they would like to see. From my point of view, this gives me a far better understanding of where resources and assistance should be targeted.

I walk about in my ward on a very regular basis - only yesterday walking with the pram from my home in Dennistoun to my surgery in Bridgeton library.
I report potholes and other problems with the fabric of the area when I see them, and I hope that this is helpful in improving the area. The issues I see on my travels however might not be the same as those local people notice, and everyone sees the world in their own way.

Problems can be obvious, like the absence of footpaths and the blind corners in Millroad Drive, or
really quite specific to particular groups. One example from the walk where I didn't realise there was a problem was a rut in the road next to St Mary's - elderly and infirm people crossing Abercromby Street to go to the Chapel had tripped on this. It had been reported to the Council but, because the Council staff didn't make that journey regularly themselves, they couldn't identify the rut and it hadn't been repaired. I've taken a photo, and will make sure LES staff know where it is!

While there isn't money to do everything residents would like right now, activities like this will help to form a wider plan which can be implemented as and when resources become available.

Papa Thewliss is 95

I'm very lucky to have three of my grandparents around - the eldest of the three is Papa Thewliss, who turned 95 last Monday.

Alexander and I popped round to bring him whisky, cake and balloons.

Belly dancing in the Winter Gardens!

Friends of Glasgow Green have organised a display of belly dancing in the Winter Gardens in Glasgow Green this Saturday between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.

I'm advised that members of the public are invited to enjoy and take part in the music and dancing, and have a coffee and a snack. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm sure that bellies of all shapes and sizes are most welcome!

If belly dancing isn't your scene, FoGG are also hosting a return visit by the Parkhead Salvation Army Band, who will be in the Winter Gardens on Sunday 19th of December, also between 1.30 and 2.30. Last year's event was just wonderful, a perfect oasis of joy to escape the Christmas shopping rush! It's a really lovely event, free and open to all!

Dalmarnock Cross consultation

I've received the following information from Clyde Gateway about the consultation events happening this week about Dalmarnock Cross. If you're interested, please do pop along!


Clyde Gateway is seeking the views and opinions of local residents and businesses on proposals to redevelop the area around Dalmarnock Railway Station.

The proposals involve the creation of a central area, similar in feel to Bridgeton Cross and Farme Cross, around which shops, offices and businesses would be located alongside a reveloped station and within a wholly new road layout.

Three days of community consultations will take place as follows:-

Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Friday 26th November : from 10am – 4pm at the Clyde Gateway Offices, Bridgeton Cross

Wednesday 24th November : from 10am – 1pm at the Bridgeton Community Learning Campus, Dale Street

Thursday 25th November : from 4pm – 7pm at the Dalmarnock Centre, Lily Street.

Staff from Clyde Gateway and the Design Team will be at all of the exhibitions to talk through the various details and to answer any questions.

All are welcome to attend, and further information is available from Alison Brown on 0141 276 1579 or by email to

We shall remember them

I was proud to be invited to attend the inaugural Bridgeton Victoria Cross Memorial Dedication and Remembrance Day service at Bridgeton Cross on the 11th of November.

When the Cross was being improved, a local history group had asked if a memorial could be laid to local servicemen Major John Simpson Knox, Piper John Clelland Richardson and Pte. Henry May who had been awarded the VC for their service in the First World War.

Charlie McDonald did a fine job of organising the event, and bringing together local politicians, school children, Priest and Ministers, and the fascinating Gordon Highlanders 1914-1918 Living History Group.

Reverend Howard Hudson, Father Stephen Dunn and Reverend Adah Younger all participated in the Ecumenical service. There was a great turnout of local people, and when the bell in the Bridgeton Umbrella struck 11, the buses coming through the Cross also stopped to mark the time.

I attended the ceremony at the Cenotaph in George Square last year, and while that had a great deal of significance, I felt that this local service made the act of remembrance a more poignant and personal one. The Umbrella and buildings around the Cross were standing when local men went off to war, never to return to their homes. It seemed quite appropriate to remember them there.

There's an excellent article covering the service in the Evening Times.

Thanks to George Parsonage for his photos of the ceremony.

Answer Time

I got this response on the 16th of November, only just getting the peace and quiet to post it! Interesting I suppose that it's from an actual person this time. I also noted during last week's show in Wales that there seemed to be a softening of the stance taken on the Glasgow show. Progress, I hope, but too late for Scotland!

"Dear Ms Thewliss

Reference number: CAS-390462

Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Question Time’ broadcast on the 4 November.

We understand you were concerned that the programme discussed American politics after David Dimbleby reminded Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the programme’s wider UK audience.

‘Question Time’ approaches every edition with a broad and wide-ranging remit, covering the major events in the political landscape during the week. We travel across the UK, and local examples are often cited by audience members to highlight a wider point. However this does not mean that the programme seeks to discuss only regionally-specific matters.

On this occasion the panel were expressing their sentiments on the announcement of the most recent GDP figures for the UK. During this discussion Deputy First Minister Sturgeon said “there’s another point on growth, it’s important for a Scottish audience”.

David simply interjected to remind Deputy First Minister Sturgeon that not only was she speaking to the studio audience in Glasgow but also to viewers across the UK.

One of his key roles as chairman is to keep panellists to the specific question under discussion and not to potentially divert to other party political points. He was not stopping her from raising a regional/national point - as has been heard in recent weeks with the al-Megrahi case or the Corus steelworks matter - but simply reminding her of the core programme need for this point to resonate with and be relevant to a UK-wide BBC One audience.

We would like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

Thanks again for contacting us.


Gemma McAleer"

Saturday 20 November 2010

Playing catch up

Been too busy to blog this week, so will do a few posts to catch you up on what I've been doing!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Road repairs

In order to undertake carriageway repairs, Gallowgate (both sides) will be reduced to one lane 50 metres in each direction of junction with Melbourne Street.

During the works road users should expect delays. The work is weather dependent and information will be updated as required.

These works will commence on Friday 19th November 2010 from 09-30 until 16-00. These works are expected to be complete on the same day. (16.00)

In order to undertake carriageway repairs within London Road, it will be reduced to one lane eastbound between junction with Graignestock and No.543

During the works road users should expect delays. The work is weather dependent and information will be updated as required.

These works will commence on Sunday 21st November 2010 from 09-00 until 16-00. These works are expected to be complete on the same day. (16.00)

Friday 5 November 2010

Question Time again

Well, since I'm in the mood for such things, I sent in a complaint on this evening's Question Time. I thought I might as well be consistent!

"During last week's edition of Question Time, Nicola Sturgeon was reminded by David Dimbleby that the programme was for a UK audience. This week University funding in England was discussed at length and it was not made clear that the discussion had no relevance to Scotland, where tuition fees have been abolished.

Later in the programme, there was a discussion on the politics of the USA. While this may have been topical, it certainly would not have been directly relevant to the daily lives of the UK audience. It seems entirely nonsensical to deny debate on Scottish issues, where this is at present a constituent part of the United Kingdom, but then debate at length the implications of the midterm elections in another nation some distance from our shores.

I look forward to your explanation for pursuing these issues in your 'UK-wide' programme."

Reidvale Cafe

I had my surgery this morning at the Reidvale Neighbourhood Centre, and as has become a bit of a habit, had lunch in their lovely cafe.

The cafe employs several members of staff with learning disabilities, who always make you very welcome. The food is very tasty, and they do wonderful home baking which I try hard to resist! Today they had cheesecake, carrot cake, shortbread and scones (I resisted!).

I can confess to a slight obsession with club sandwiches, and as you can see from the photo, Reidvale's cafe produces a particularly fine example. Even better - it's only £2. Really! Worth a visit for this alone, and just the thing for a Councillor-with-baby constantly on the move.

New boundaries

I had a question from a constituent about the new boundaries for the Scottish Parliament elections next year.

The regular changing of boundaries is pretty confusing for the electorate - particularly as there are now larger Council ward boundaries, Scottish Parliament Constituencies, Westminster Constituencies, and the odd notion (as far as campaigning goes) that the European Parliament has no individual constituencies within Scotland at all.

There's a bit of a change for Shettleston - the Govanhill section south of the river is lost from the new constituency, but it now runs from High Street and the Saltmarket out to Baillieston. It has Duke Street and then the railway line as most of it's northern-most boundary, and the Clyde to the south. It takes in the whole of the Calton and Shettleston Council multi-member wards, and some of the Baillieston ward. Quite a size! A map can be found by following >this link<.

As most people will by now know, former Glasgow East MP John Mason is the SNP candidate for the new Shettleston constituency - we're working hard for him already!