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Security Delays At COP26 Left Thousands of Delegates Waiting Outside For Hours

Delegates and attendees were left waiting for upwards of two hours just to get inside the COP26 summit this morning (PoliticsHome)

3 min read

Thousands of delegates were stuck outside the COP26 summit for hours on Monday morning after delays with security caused huge queues outside the venue in Glasgow.

Attendees reported having to wait for upwards of two hours to enter the climate conference on its first full day.

More than 30,000 people have arrived in the Scottish city for the event, which is being described as the “last best chance” to save the planet from catastrophic global warming.

As leader of the host nation, Boris Johnson is welcoming the heads of more than 100 countries and delivered an opening address this lunchtime warning they must take stronger action.

“Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It's one minute to midnight and we need to act now,” the Prime Minister said in his opening address. 

"If we don't get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”

But as he greeted world leaders delegates were stranded outside the Scottish Event Campus, many posting pictures of the long queues on social media.

Security were seen asking those waiting if they were in a negotiating party who was due to hold talks in the next hour to try and rush them through.

"I had to queue for about 45 minutes which which was not ideal," one delegate told PoliticsHome.

"I wish I had come earlier, but I was not late to my event. Here inside so far it's, it's been okay and I hope this all is well at the conference."

This morning’s problems added to a long list of issues already facing those attending the event in Scotland this week, after all trains north out of London were cancelled yesterday forcing many to book last-minute flights to arrive in time.

Bin collectors and street cleaners in Glasgow have gone on strike after last-ditch talks between the GMB union and the city’s council collapsed on Sunday evening.

A Downing Street spokesperson refused to apologise for the lengthy queues at the event, but said they were working with the UN and operational staff.

"The security arrangements and accreditation for COP are mandated by the UN and managed in partnership between the UN and COP26 operational staff,” the Prime Minister's spokesperson said. 

"There are thousands of delegates arriving on site each day and we are working closely with our partners like the UN FCC to minimise wait times as much as possible during busy times whilst we ensure we keep safe entry for those who wish to access the site."

Organisers of COP26 called on attendees to watch the proceedings online saying "there is currently a high level of attendance" at the venue.

They posted on Twitter: "In order to comply with COVID-19 measures, we encourage you to only visit the Blue Zone for as long as necessary and consider making use of the COP Platform where possible."

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