Glasgow agglomeration: noise action plan

This plan is one in a suite of six noise action plans produced under the terms of the Environmental Noise Directive (END).

6. Description of Agglomeration - Glasgow

6.1 Description of the Glasgow Agglomeration

The Glasgow agglomeration map is shown in Figure 3 below. Glasgow and the Clyde Valley ( GCV) has a population of 1.75 million and covers 3,376kmĀ², encompassing the whole of the River Clyde catchment. Approximately 48% of Scotland's exports are produced within the area, making it critically important to the national economy.

Figure 3 Glasgow Agglomeration

Figure 3 Glasgow Agglomeration

Glasgow and the Clyde Valley is predominantly a lowland area surrounded by hill ranges and in recent times the area has experienced the same trends as the rest of Scotland where urban development has the biggest impact on the environment. The GCV Area includes several landscapes that are recognised as being of national and regional importance including parts of the Loch Lomond National Park, the Campsie Fells, the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and the Southern Uplands.

Glasgow's network of green spaces (4,878 ha) accounts for over 27% of the City's total area. The network consists of public parks, amenity open spaces, countryside areas, seven local nature reserves, 46 sites of City-wide importance for nature conservation and around 49 sites of local importance.

The 6,900 individual listed buildings in the City represent the principal elements of Glasgow's architectural heritage. The City also has 22 conservation areas, which extend over 1,476ha, each containing its own distinctive character.

Glasgow is a major Scottish transport node with a comprehensive internal transport network including motorways (M8, M73, M74, M77 and M80), the UK's second largest suburban commuter rail network, the only subway system in the UK outside London and an extensive network of bus routes. Around 94% of Glasgow's population lives within 300m of an hourly bus service and approximately 50 million rail journeys on the rail network in and around the region. This network includes a suburban commuter rail system with 120km of track and 60 rail stations serving all parts of the City.

Glasgow airport is situated within Renfrewshire Council on the south west of the Glasgow agglomeration. A separate Action Plan for this facility has been produced by the airport operator and can be viewed at

The Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Strategic Development Plan was approved by Scottish Ministers on 29th May 2012. The Strategic Development Plan sets out a development strategy over the next 20 years of where new development should be located and a policy framework to help deliver sustainable economic growth, shape good quality places and enhance the quality of life in the Glasgow and the Clyde Valley city region. The Plan focuses on growing the economy of the city region in a low carbon and sustainable manner and setting out a planning framework which positively encourages investment within Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.

6.2 Local Development Plans


The City Plan forms part of the city's development plan. It is used to guide the location, scale and quality of developments and, also, to inform decisions on planning applications.

Glasgow's City Plan 2 lays the foundation for development across the city and includes development proposals up to 2014. Work is ongoing on City Plan 3 which will be launched in 2014. City Plan 2 takes account of other national and local strategies and plans, including the City's community plan and a wide range of subject plans ranging from biodiversity and housing to transport and waste management. The Plan aims to tackle growing concerns about climate change and also the health of residents. Many policies are included in the Plan to help address these issues and tackle the City's carbon footprint. The ultimate aim of the Plan is to improve the quality of the physical environment and the quality of life for people living and working in the City and provide the conditions to promote sustainable development.

Planning policy and development management:

The noise map for Glasgow is a key planning tool when considering the development strategy for the City. Planning applications are assessed in terms of potential noise impacts considering:

1) new noise sources introduced into residential areas; and

2) new residential schemes adjacent to existing noise sources.

In addition, applications can be assessed against the strategic noise maps to ensure that populations are not exposed to additional environmental noise from these proposals, safeguarding the newly promoted (from the first round of END) Noise Management Areas ( NMAs) and designated Quiet Areas ( QAs). The NMAs and QAs have been included in Glasgow's Main Issues Report 13 ( MIR) and on planning constraint maps.

The MIR is a statutory document that will inform Glasgow's subsequent development plan (City Plan 3 due to be adopted in 2014).


The adopted Renfrewshire Local Plan and emerging Local Development Plan guide the use and development of land, indicating where development or changes in land use should or should not take place. The development plan requires to take account and be informed by many other plans, policies and strategies and this then sets the framework at the local level in Renfrewshire.

The vision and the framework set out in the development plan focuses on promoting sustainable economic growth through indicating opportunities for change, supporting investment, creating and enhancing communities and places, providing high quality new development in the right locations. Central to this is places which can support a mix of uses, can be adaptable to future opportunities and can accommodate a range of development proposals.

The Renfrewshire Local Development Plan contains policies which are supported by New Development Supplementary Guidance providing detail and advice when considering developments in relation to noise. This informs the decision made when assessing planning application for development.

East Renfrewshire

The current Local Plan was adopted on 14th February 2011 and work is underway on a local development plan to cover the period up to 2025. It is anticipated that the new local development plan will be adopted in winter 2014.

North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire Council ( NLC) adopted its current Local Plan in September 2012. This will be replaced by North Lanarkshire Council's first Development Plan in 2016.

The Local Plan set out NLC's development needs over the following 5 - 10 years. The Local Development Plan will state what type of development should take place where, and which areas should not be developed. It will form the basis for assessing planning applications.

Currently NLC has not declared any Noise Management Areas ( NMAs) or Quiet Areas ( QAs). Should this position change in the future any declared NMAs or QAs will be taken into consideration when drafting the Local Development Plan.

6.3 Local Transport Strategy

Keeping Glasgow Moving

The transport strategy for Glasgow 'Keeping Glasgow Moving' Glasgow's Local Transport Strategy ( LTS)' 2007-2009 sets out Glasgow City Council's aspirations for taking forward transport policy and infrastructure within Glasgow. The strategy has been developed taking account of other relevant strategies at a national, regional and local level as well as the feedback from an extensive consultation exercise and an examination of local issues, problems and opportunities.

Five high level objectives have been set. Objective three ( LTS3) outlines:

"Promote healthy and environmentally sustainable methods of transport that minimise harmful emissions and energy consumption including those that involve physical activity".

Noise Pollution is an environmental consideration. Current practice in dealing with road traffic noise by Local Authorities in Scotland is in response to the duty placed on them by the Noise Insulation (Scotland) Regulations 1975. This requires authorities to make initial assessments of traffic noise for both new and altered roads at opening and after 5, 10 and 15 years after opening. These assessments are carried out in accordance with procedures set by central government. Where noise levels are exceeded the Local Authority has a duty to carry out insulation works to qualifying properties or make grants to have the work carried out.

Policies supported by the LTS:

Noise Policy 1 - Support the Scottish Executive in the implementation of Environmental Noise Directive.

Noise Policy 2 - Ensure through assessment that the noise from new roads does not exceed national thresholds.

Actions of the LTS:

Noise Policy Action 1 - Provide input to the Scottish Executive, as required, to produce a noise map for Glasgow by June 2007. (Supports Noise Policy 1).

Noise Policy Action 2 - Provide input to the Scottish Executive as required to produce a noise action plan by June 2008. (Supports Noise Policy 1).

Noise Policy Action 3 - Continue to implement the Noise Insulation (Scotland) Regulations 1975 by assessing new road schemes following implementation and at 5 yearly intervals to assess whether noise thresholds are breached and implementing mitigation measures as appropriate. (Supports Noise Policy 2).

North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire Council's Local Transport Strategy ( LTS) was published in 2010 The LTS document sets out the principles by which North Lanarkshire Council will maintain and improve all of its transport networks, as well as demonstrate how the Council has applied national and regional transport policy locally.

Objective 4 of the Key Objectives of the LTS is to protect North Lanarkshire's natural and built environment and to improve the health of its population. NLC's strategy for doing this includes the following measures which could lead to reductions in noise:-

  • Challenge existing travel behaviour habits and encourage more sustainable transport choices.
  • Increase the proportion of active travel trips; and
  • Minimise the impact of the transport network on the natural and built environment.

6.4 Local Air Quality Action Plans


In 2012 Glasgow declared the whole of the city an Air Quality Management Area ( AQMA) in respect of particulate matter air pollution ( PM10). There are also three separate AQMAs; the City Centre, Parkhead Cross and Byres Road/Dumbarton Road, declared for the air pollutant NO 2.

The largest source of air pollution within Glasgow is from road transport. Glasgow's Air Quality Action Plans therefore contain a range of measures across the city targeting road transport and promoting sustainable transport. The action plans can be found here .

Some of the current works taking place, that may lead to reductions in noise include the following:-

  • The Carbotraf project will attempt to better define the links between road traffic and black smoke particles in the air. This project is attempting to understand how active traffic management (traffic shaping) may help to reduce pollution levels within the city.
  • The Statutory Quality Bus Partnership Scheme is in operation in the city and has seen the introduction of progressive emission standards for buses.
  • Policies and conditions relating to the age and specification of taxis and private hire cars are under review. This review should lead to an improvement in the taxis and private hire vehicle fleet.
  • The bus retrofit grant scheme will be launched in 2013 and should see a number of older buses fitted with new state of the art exhaust systems.
  • Roadside vehicle emission and idling enforcement activities will continue to be undertaken throughout the city.
  • Cycling facilities i.e. cycle parking and by-pass lanes/advanced stop lines and feeder lanes have been provided at various locations in the city to encourage cycling.

Glasgow will introduce Low Emission Zones at all Commonwealth Games venues. Only the best performing engines and stationary equipment will be permitted into these zones


In 2010 Renfrewshire Council declared an Air Quality Management Area ( AQMA) in respect of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter air pollution for the Paisley town centre area. The largest source of air pollution within the AQMA is attributable to road transportation. Renfrewshire's Air Quality Action Plan therefore contains a range of measures specifically targeting road transport as well as attempting to promote sustainable transport. The action plan will be published on the Council's website.

Some of the current works taking place to reduce pollutant emissions which may also lead to reductions in noise include the following:-

  • A recent refurbishment to Central Road has resulted in the traffic flow being reduced to a single direction (westbound traffic only). The numbers of bus stops were also reduced from four to two thus effectively halving the traffic using Central Road and reducing the number of buses idling. The positive effects on air quality as a result of this is evident from subsequent monitoring results.
  • The Statutory Quality Bus Partnership Scheme is in operation in the area and has seen the introduction of progressive emission standards for buses.
  • Roadside vehicle emission and idling enforcement activities will continue to be undertaken throughout the area.

North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire Council currently has 5 Air Quality Management Areas ( AQMAs). These are located in

  • Chapelhall
  • Whifflet, Coatbridge
  • Motherwell Town Centre
  • Moodiesburn at the A80
  • Croy

All AQMAs have been declared for exceedances of the national annual mean objective for Particulate Matter ( PM10). It is likely however that some of these sites, namely Chapelhall and Whifflet will shortly be amended to take account of monitored exceedances of the annual mean objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO 2). In addition to this, the Moodiesburn AQMA will shortly be revoked due to a reduction in monitored emissions in this area as a result of changes to the road network and opening of the M80.

In 2013 North Lanarkshire Council published its second Air Quality Action Plan which details measures the Council intends to take to improve air quality in the AQMAs. Some of the current action plan measures may lead to reductions in noise:-

  • Purchase and installation of rev-limiters on Council vehicles to ensure more efficient driving and reduced emissions. Initial batch of 30 vehicles to be trialled and measures to be rolled out across Council fleet if successful.
  • Purchase and introduction of electric powered minibus for transport for school within AQMA. Performance of vehicle to be assessed with view to future purchasing strategy.
  • Introduction of electric powered road sweepers for use in AQMAs (Whifflett and Chapelhall)
  • Council roll-out of electric vehicles in fleet. Roll-out to be extended following evaluation of first batch performance.
  • Introduction of electric vehicle charging points in Council car parks for use by Council and general public
  • Feasibility study in relation to the potential development and introduction of a Statutory Quality Bus Partnership
  • Introduction of Ecostars Fleet Recognition Scheme


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