COP26 Glasgow: M8 delays or closures expected during climate summit amid VIP security concerns

With the news that Joe Biden and the Queen are going to stay in Edinburgh during COP26, what does that mean for commuters who use the M8?

What’s happening? Queen Elizabeth II and US President Joe Biden (and his entourage) will travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow for COP26 as all three have chosen to stay in the capital during the climate summit.

Because of this sections of the M8 motorway could be shut to commuters next month, amid security concerns over VIPs being caught in slow-moving traffic.

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M8 delays: Transport sources said drivers faced delays of up to 30 minutes on the M8 in Glasgow on November 1 and 2 if world leaders and their international delegations travelled via the motorway to reach the summit.

"This may include around roadworks at the Woodside viaduct, between junctions 16 and 17, where the four lanes are reduced to two,” sources told the Scotsman.

“There are security concerns about having to move VIPs through slow-moving traffic.”

Police Scotland is understood to have gathered specific intelligence about planned protests near junction 19 at Anderston, where VIPs arriving by car will be escorted off the motorway and onto the Clydeside Expressway, which will be reserved solely for COP26 traffic during the summit.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “Delivering such a complex event as COP26 means that some security road closures and restrictions may be needed in other areas of the country to facilitate the safety and security of world leaders, heads of state, delegates and local residents.

“We will work with partners to minimise local disruption and communicate in advance any road closures or diversions that are put in place, to allow for people to forward plan their own journeys.”

Where are the Queen and Joe Biden staying? While the Queen is expected to use her official residence at Holyrood Palace during the summit, details of where Mr Biden and the Pope will stay have not been made public.

Police presence in Glasgow for COP26: Fresh details of security arrangements in place around the SEC in Glasgow follow the re-launch of Project Servator, a long-running Police Scotland anti-crime and anti-terror scheme, that will see front-line officers supported by specialist resources, including police dogs and horses, armed units, CCTV operators and security staff.

More than 10,000 UK officers are expected to arrive in Glasgow in the days leading up to COP26. Around 2,500 Scottish officers are receiving extra training in how to manage large protests.

Chief Superintendent Mark Hargreaves, silver commander for the policing operation at the summit, said: “COP26 is one of the largest policing operations the UK has seen and we plan to utilise all resources at our disposal to support the delivery of a safe and secure event.

“Project Servator has proven to be an effective tactic in helping to disrupt criminal activity and keep people safe and has been deployed successfully at major events in the past, such as the Commonwealth Games and Edinburgh festivals.”

A version of this article first appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman