COP26: Disruption forecast in Glasgow as busy roads begin to close

Disruption forecast in Glasgow as busy roads begin to close ahead of COP26 climate summit

10/23/2021 2:07:00 PM

Disruption forecast in Glasgow as busy roads begin to close ahead of COP26 climate summit

Key routes near the SEC in Glasgow will close over the weekend and some commuters are expecting 'major challenges'.

Road closures begin on Saturday and last until Monday 15 November, however some roads in the SEC campus are already closed. The Clyde Arc and part of the Clydeside Expressway will be shut from 21:00.Some days are expected to be busier than others, with the biggest disruption expected on Saturday 6 November which has been designated as the Global Day For Climate Justice.

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About 100,000 protesters are expected in Glasgow, with a march which begins at Kelvingrove Park at noon before making its way to Glasgow Green for about 15:00.People across the city can expect to be affected by delays, diversions or road congestion, from pedestrians and cyclists to drivers and those using public transport.

Image source,Image caption,The entrance to the Scottish Events Centre (SEC) already has traffic-flow measures set upThe first minister is being urged to personally intervene to resolve a long-running rail dispute whichcould see strikes during the summit

after the RMT union rejected a pay offer.Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, wrote to Nicola Sturgeon calling on her to act as a "matter of urgency to bring about a fair resolution".Government agency Transport Scotland, however, expressed disappointment that RMT members were not being balloted on the offer.

Appearing on BBC Radio'sGood Morning Scotlandprogramme, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken urged people to treat any potential strikes the same way they would at any other time - by planning ahead.She said COP26 was the "most important event" not just for Glasgow but for the whole world, and the summit was something Glaswegians cared about.

Ms Aitken said Glasgow was chosen partly because of its ability to host major events, and she urged people to check the council'sGet Ready Glasgowwebsite for information on the impact of road closures.Conservative MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane criticised Ms Aitken's comments on transport, saying they showed "a worrying ignorance of the impacts COP26 will have on daily life in Glasgow".

Fly tippingMs Aitken also said cleansing teams were out clearing up fly-tipping "hotspots" after the issue of mounting rubbish in the city was raised on the BBC's Question Time programme on Thursday night.She said: "We're very clear that the pandemic has had a very significant impact on our cleansing services.

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"The recovery from that is coinciding with COP26, but the recovery from that actually is moving at pace."However, cyclist and campaigner Thomas Cornwallis told BBC Scotland he was unhappy with "haphazard" measures and poor signage in areas of heavy with traffic, such as Finnieston.

He suggested cyclists and pedestrians could be put off from using potentially busy diversions - which could affect the legacy of the summit.Image caption,Cyclist Thomas Cornwallis shared concerns over how infrastructure would impact the legacy of the summit

"Three weeks can be a very big impact for people cycling," he said. "Especially during a climate conference, especially when a lot of the city is already going to suffer closures."Long term, we need fewer people driving, it would be a great example to show how we can accommodate people during these events by allowing them to cycle or walk.

"But we're not doing that - this is not a good legacy to look back at. What did Glasgow do? They gave you a few water-filled barriers and a little tarmac ramp."Dougie McPherson, chairman of Glasgow Taxis, suggested the measures put in place may not be enough to enable people to go about their usual business.

He said: "I think there are so many unknown factors, to anticipate how severely this will impact will be very difficult. People still need to get to doctors' appointments and kids still need to get to school."All of that has got to go on during the business of the conference so that presents a major challenge for us as a transport provider and for people going about their core business."

'Covid stakes are high'Concerns have also been raised about the impact the summit could have on Scotland's Covid cases and the strain this could place on the NHS.On Thursday, Prof Devi Sridhar, of the University of Edinburgh, tweeted that a mass event such as COP26 "will cause an increase in cases" and could "trigger a need for further restrictions".

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Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence for NHS Grampian, agreed with the position, saying that even if environments were as safe as possible, the risk of infection during mass events was still high.She told Good Morning Scotland: "You've got a lot of people who won't be fully protected, many of whom won't have the chance to be vaccinated.

"We've got a really fragile situation, the number of cases in Scotland have been plateauing - plateaued at higher levels than ever before."The minute you start to add on the number of infections onto that you're looking at numbers we probably haven't seen before, whether that leads to restrictions will depend on the scale of this. I would say the stakes are really high."

The Scottish government has said appropriate mitigation measures will be in place for the summit and Covid-19 continues to be closely monitored. Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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