SEC to be ‘locked down’ with high security fence during COP26

Extra security measures will be in place at the SEC for COP26.

What’s happening? The Glasgow SEC is to be locked down with a high security fence line during the COP26 climate conference to guard against a potential terrorist attack.

Extra security measures will be put in place where the fence crosses roads to ward off vehicle attacks.

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An outer security perimeter is to provide a suitable “stand off” in “the event of a terrorist attack” according to a council report presented to a committee yesterday.

Police chief constable Iain Livingstone is also expected to apply for an anti-terrorist traffic regulation order to close roads and paths around the SEC.

The global summit is expected to see 30,000 delegates visit Glasgow between October 31 to November 12.

Glasgow City Council head of roads Andy Mollon laid out the plans as he faced criticism over cycle path diversions during the November event.

Mr Mollon said there will be unavoidable travel disruptions and described “COP 26 as the biggest event that the UK let alone Scotland has held for many years if ever.”

He said: “Due to the scale and complexity of the event, which involves the attendance of world leaders and climate activists, we will experience temporary changes to the movement of traffic around the city.”

A number of locations outside the outer security perimeter could also face closures during COP26 depending on the situation.

Cyclist campaigner Thomas Cornwallis presented a petition to Glasgow City Council calling for path diversions during the summit to be safe. He pointed out concerns over some of the alternative routes.

The Convenor for GoBike Glasgow wants cyclists to be able to still use Finnieston Street – which would still be open for pedestrians during the event.

Speaking at the Wellbeing, Empowerment, Community and Citizen Engagement City Policy Committee, Mr Cornwallis said: “When Cop26 comes to Glasgow in November this year Glasgow City Council have a duty under their declared climate emergency to do everything they can to ensure that travel around the city during this conference is allowed to be as sustainable as possible for the citizens.”

Mr Cornwallis pointed out a diversion from Squinty Bridge would be two miles longer and the Bridge to Nowhere flyover would be closed to cyclists.

Councillor Allan Young, Scottish Green Party, asked for the council to meet with GoBike as they “have a lot of good ideas.”

Mr Mollon said other partners would need to be there and he couldn’t commit to a meeting without checking as there is limited time.

Mr Cornwallis described being shocked by the state of the COP26 active travel diversion route, which he cycled.

He said: “Sending a cyclist down Argyle Street will get someone seriously injured or killed without a proper diversion.”

The meeting heard a path at Argyle Street can’t have a barrier protected path due to security reasons.

Mr Mollon said suggestions from Mr Cornwallis will be considered but the meeting heard security measures to ensure people’s safety is paramount.

The committee was told there may be flexibility on active travel route closures depending on the situation and the scale of the event is “unprecedented.”

Council official Jamie Rodden said a worst case scenario had been presented and efforts would be made to keep certain routes open such as the west city way.

Mr Rodden described the scale of the operation for the huge event as “unprecedented.”

The meeting heard the diversions could feature temporary barriers to segregate traffic from bikes.

Mr Mollon said plans are a “fluid situation.”

Committee convener Annette Christie asked for officers to engage with GoBike, communicate about ongoing closures and keep councillors updated.

Cycle routes proposed for closure include:

A814 Clydeside Expressway

Stobcross Street

Finnieston Street

The Clyde Arc

Parts of the National Cycle Network