Scottish Parliament urged to remove M8 motorway through Glasgow Scottish Parliament urged to remove M8 motorway through Glasgow

In a petition uploaded to the Scottish Parliament website, MSPs have been called on to investigate ways the M8 motorway through Glasgow city centre could be "removed or reduced".

The petition coincides with Glasgow hosting the COP26 climate conference at which car dependency — and the need to encourage more people to use alternative forms of transport — is expected to be a major talking point.

Campaigners claim the land given over to the huge carriageway should be used to rebuild communities that were flattened in the 1960s.

The petition calls on MSPs "to urge the Scottish Government to commission an independent feasibility study to investigate scenarios for reducing the impact of the M8 between the M74 and Glasgow Cathedral including, specifically, complete removal and repurposing of the land".

It adds: "It is not clear whether the commitment to ongoing maintenance of the elevated M8 has been evaluated in light of the new cooperation agreement between the SNP and Green Party which states 'we will not build road infrastructure to cater for unconstrained increases in traffic'."

The petition will be considered by Holyrood's Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee later this month.

£35 million maintenance project a "colossal waste of money"

It comes as the Scottish Government is currently spending £35 million on maintenance of the Woodside viaduct which carries traffic between Charing Cross and Townhead.

The Record newspaper quoted Labour MSP Paul Sweeney as saying the project is a "colossal waste of money" and environmentally damaging in the year of COP26. Instead, he is urging MSPs to look to the example of cities in the US and Europe which have already replaced freeways with roads which blend in better with their surroundings.

Why was the M8 built?

Construction of the M8 through the city centre was hugely controversial as it led to almost entire districts being demolished, despite Glasgow having among the lowest levels of car ownership of any major urban area.

Once known as the Glasgow Inner Ring Road, the M8 was built in several stages and provided a key link between Edinburgh and the west. The first section opened in Glasgow city centre in 1968.

Local comments on the petition include complaints that what Glasgow really needs is a direct rail link between Central and Queen St stations and between central Glasgow and Glasgow airport.