Glasgow in Chaos Ahead of COP26 with Strikes and Room Shortages

COP26 starts this Sunday, so you’d think the SNP-led city council is now in the final stages of preparing Glasgow for a successful summit and showing off the city’s best features. Not so. Instead, here’s a rundown of just how shambolic things are looking with just days to go…

This morning, rail and council workers confirmed they’ll be taking strike action during the summit, with ScotRail striking from the second day of the conference. Unless ScotRail’s pay rise demands are met by tomorrow, the travel infrastructure for thousands of COP attendees will be in total chaos. Binmen are also off, so the city streets will be piled high with weeks’ worth of rubbish just as delegates arrive.

If and when the rail strikes go ahead, travelling by car won’t be much use either: major roads into Glasgow, including the Clydeside Expressway and parts of the M8, will be closed from this week onwards, so those who’ve booked accommodation in Edinburgh will face “serious problems” with enormous Uber fares and journey times. Speaking of accommodation…

Today MPs have been warned of an “accommodation crisis” amongst attendees, with as many as 3000 people still without room bookings, and emergency accommodation now being provided in gyms and community centres. Despite being in the calendar for years, the government’s accommodation provider only managed to book out “around a third” of the Glasgow area’s hotel rooms.

There’s also huge pressure on local hospitals. Outpatient appointments at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have already been cancelled as a result of the travel disruption, with some patients even being relocated to other hospitals – all as a direct result of COP. A planned climate march of around 100,000 people hasn’t helped, either. That same hospital is also trying to find additional A&E staff to cover the demonstrations…

All this for a summit which won’t even feature the leaders of some of the world’s biggest emitters. No wonder Boris is “very worried“. Thankfully, the SNP’s Glasgow Council leader put fears to rest by insisting the city was ready…”with caveats“. This is the same person who yesterday blamed Glasgow’s rat infestation on Margaret Thatcher… 

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