GLASGOW is so keen to plant more trees that it is considering proposals to re-forest its golf courses.

The city council earlier this year announced a climate emergency - and an aspiration to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Separately it also launched a consultation on the future of six of its public golf courses, key green space smack in the middle of Scotland’s most densely populated areas.

Now an influential group of councillors has called for the courses - including the 18-hole Littlehill, Lethamhill and Linn Park - to be turned in to forests, wetlands or even allotments if they shut.

The council’s climate emergency working group - in a major document still under consideration - said: “Depending on the outcome of the current public consultation into the future of Glasgow’s public golf courses, it may be that some of these under-utilised sites are also repurposed for food growing, tree planting or as a carbon sink.”

READ MORE: Optical chief tables bid for leading Scottish golf club 

The working group’s chairwoman, Martha Wardrop, stressed that even if the courses stayed open there was a lot that could be done to make the greens greener. 

Local governments across Scotland are struggling to find ways to recycle golf courses, public and private, as the sport declines. 

Just outside Glasgow, an old club at Fernbrae near Castlemilk has been transformed in to a new urban park, complete with new woods and a natural wetland that serves as a crucial flood defence.

Around 17% of Glasgow is currently under trees and local authorities want to see more, with planting already planned at the already disused King’s Park Golf club with a rich variety of Rowan, Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Alder, Hazel, Field Maple, Hawthorn, Sessile Oak, Scots Pine, Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir. 

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said: “Increasing our tree planting programme is an area where we believe quick progress can be made.

“But there is already a substantial amount of tree planting going on in the city that contributes to Glasgow’s positive record on carbon reduction.

“Last year alone the council was involved in planting 7000 trees around the city as part of various initiatives in existing woodland, parks and play areas.

“Extensive tree planting is now also an intrinsic part of new housing developments in the city as developers seek to create the kind of environments that appeal to incoming householders.

“We are also targeting vacant and derelict land as places where planting can take place, especially where there is little prospect of development in the short or medium term.

“Many of these lots blight communities but planting can go hand in hand with better management of spaces that improves amenity and accessibility as well creating environmental benefits.

READ MORE: Entrepreneur has bid for top Scottish golf club rejected 

“One of our major forthcoming projects will be a new woodland on the former King’s Park Golf Course as part of wider work to mitigate flooding issues in the area.

“Work is due to start in the coming months with five thousands trees to be planted across the site along with some 38,000 daffodil bulbs.

“There will be a wide range of species planted as saplings and a smaller number of semi-mature trees introduced to support the drainage project.

“It is hoped that a disused space can be transformed into something attractive for the community while also meeting climate change objectives.

“But we are clear that tree planting is something we must accelerate if we are to match the expectations of the working group.

“We are already looking very closely at how we can build on the good work currently underway to extend the city’s tree population.

“There is significant potential for tree planting in the city still to be unlocked and we hope to bring forward plans shortly that will make a big difference to our efforts to become a carbon-neutral city.”

READ MORE: Scotland's industrial wastelands to be turned into forests

Last financial year the city planted 3200 trees on Cathkin Braes, 1000 in Castlemilk Woods and 800 at Molendinar next to the M80. 

Authorities across Western Scotland are aiming to plant trees on vacant and derelict land. The Glasgow working group wants swift action to identify urban areas for wilding. This marks a step-change in how Scotland thinks of gap sites. 

Francesca Osowska, chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said her watchdog was working with Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Land Commission and Sepa to identify spaces for rewilding. She said: “In the past there was quite a restrictive view taken on how you can make these sites ‘productive’ and the definition of productive has been very much skewed to hard economic regeneration. 

“Now there is a much broader definition of productive, so it can mean productive for nature. This is still at the early days. 

“This is a demonstration of how SNH has changed over recent years. I don’t think Scottish Enterprise would have thought about having that conversation with us. And we would not necessarily have pushed in to a conversation about vacant and derelict land.”