Transport Plan Overview
The UK and Italy have secured the nomination to World Leaders the UN Climate Summit – COP26, which is being held 31 October – 12 November 2021. Visitors from around the globe are expected to arrive week commencing 25 October, with pre-conference events taking place.
The scale of the event is unprecedented in terms of scale and impact on the transport network. Delivering the transport planning requires cognisance of the needs of a range of client groups including World Leaders, VIPs, UNFCCC-registered attendees, UN staff, media, activists, volunteers and operational support. The nature of the event and the likely activists it will attract indicate that transport disruption is highly likely. Our response will be to Keep Scotland Moving where possible and have a planned response to recover swiftly from adverse events.
Up to 25,000 people will attend the COP26 event through the duration of the conference. It is expected that up to 12,000 people will be on site at any one time.
The Transport Plan aims to deliver a safe, secure and resilient transport network to the event, providing a first-class experience, with public transport and active travel at its core.
The Transport Plan will play a part in COP26 achieving both the ISO20121 certification and BSI PAS 2060. ISO 20121 is a voluntary international standard for sustainable event management, created by the International Organization for Standardization. PAS 2060 is a specification detailing how to demonstrate carbon neutrality produced and published by the British Standards Institution.
Transport plays an important part in delivering fully accessible and inclusive event. We are committed to ensuring that visitors with additional accessibility requirements can travel safely and securely throughout the conference. The vision, set out in Scotland’s Accessible Travel Framework, is that all people can travel with the same freedom, choice, dignity and opportunity as one another.
Protected characteristics, under the Equality Act 2010, that are relevant to the transport planning throughout the event have been identified as:
- Pregnancy & maternity.
Travel to Scotland
As COP26 will attract many international registered attendees, aviation will be used predominately for those travelling out with the UK to Scotland and using onward travel to the event. The main UK Ports of Entry for COP26 are the three primary airports in Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick), in addition to London Heathrow.
Beyond international air travel, registered attendees may also travel from/to Europe by rail. Eurostar, in conjunction with Holland’s ProRail have arranged a Climate Train to COP26. The purpose of this train is not only to transport registered attendees to the conference in an environmentally friendly transport mode, but also to enhance the COP26 experience while travelling to the event.
In order to enable the attendance of all Parties, there will be COP-specific arrangements for the travel restrictions registered attendees will encounter as they enter England and Scotland. This Travel Regime is the legislation that governs entry to England/Scotland. Everyone who wants to take advantage of the special Travel Regime arrangements in place for COP26 must be in possession of the specific COP Travel Regime letter required and must comply with the departure requirements it sets out or carriers may not permit them to board. This includes:
- The requirement for unvaccinated individuals from Red List countries to quarantine for the standard 10 days
- A reduced quarantine period of 5 days for vaccinated individuals from Red List countries
- No requirement for self-isolation on arrival to the UK for those coming from Amber or Green listed countries, whether vaccinated or not
Travel within Glasgow
Glasgow has a comprehensive, accessible public transport network serving the city and the wider city region. This consists of rail, subway and service bus. Access for registered attendees to be dropped off and picked up by taxi will also be available at Elliot Street.
The Scotrail network covers the whole of Scotland with numerous routes operating from Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street stations. Glasgow Central predominantly serves the west and south west of the country, while Glasgow Queen Street serves the east and north east. The Exhibition Centre Station (on the Lanark - Helensburgh Argyle Line) serves the conference and is fully accessible.
As a consequence of security requirements, a number of road closures and restrictions on the Glasgow road network in proximity to the SEC will be brought into place.
The main road closures that will be in place are:
- Clydeside Expressway
- Clyde Arc
- Finnieston Street.
Alternative routes will be:
- Great Western Road
- Paisley Road West
- Clyde Tunnel.
Travel From Other Accommodation Sites
While it is expected that the majority of registered attendees will be staying in Glasgow, it is known that accommodation across the central belt of Scotland will be utilised by COP26 registered attendees. These registered attendees will require to travel to Glasgow each day they are in attendance.
All COP26 registered attendees and volunteers assisting with the delivery of the event will be provided with a free travel smartcard. The smartcard will provide holders with free use of public transport from their accommodation to the venue for the duration of the conference. The bespoke COP26 branded card will allow all registered attendees to choose their mode of Public Transport and not be limited to only one option i.e. bus or rail.
To support the predicted demand created on the Argyle line and local bus services, a Conference Shuttle service, with the aim of an entirely zero emission fleet, has been agreed for registered attendees traveling to the event. The service will provide additional resilience via a direct link between Glasgow City Centre and the SEC. This will serve registered attendees staying within Glasgow as well as those alighting at Queen Street and Central rail stations.
Glasgow has a wide-ranging and expanding network of active travel routes and shared use footpaths that facilitates a safe and convenient space for those who choose to wheel, cycle or walk. A number of Core Paths and Active Travel Routes connect the venue with the surrounding areas. To support and promote active travel, Glasgow City Council’s cycle hire scheme - ‘Nextbike’ -will be free to use for all registered attendees attending the conference to either move about the city in general or to commute to and from the conference. The scheme will also be made available to COP26 volunteers and local residents.
However, for security purposes, the National Cycle Network (Route 7), that runs north side of the River Clyde from Glasgow Green to Loch Lomond, will be closed in proximity to the SEC. Closure details are noted below:
- C93E (Millennium Bridge)
- C93F (Bells Bridge)
- Part of C93 (Clyde Walkway (North) between Beith Way and Finnieston Street)
- Part of C93A (between Finnieston Quay and Minerva Street)
- C93C (between the Riverside Museum and Stobcross Road)
- Part of C109 (Clyde Walkway (South) at Pacific Quay)
- Part of C54A (Expressway Overbridge at Anderston)
- Part of C54B (M8 Overbridge at Anderston)
- River Kelvin ‘Core Path on Water’ at Kelvin Harbour.
Central Belt Motorways
Strategic corridors and links between Edinburgh and Glasgow are expected to see impacts of the road closures and restrictions:
- M74 main carriageway on the approach to, and through, the M8 Braids section, where additional weaving is predicted as more traffic heads towards Clyde Tunnel, Westbound.
- Increased queueing and delays on M8, Junction 25 Westbound off-ramp (Clyde Tunnel), as more traffic heads towards Clyde Tunnel (Northbound) and from Clyde Tunnel (Southbound). This is a key access road to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and joint planning will be undertaken with Glasgow City Council to mitigate any impacts.
Get Ready Glasgow
COP26 will be unlike other major events Scotland has hosted, bringing its own unique challenges for transport. Due to the scale and complexity of the event, which includes one of the largest gatherings of World Leaders and alongside planned protest by climate activists, we will experience significant disruption to our travel.
A comprehensive programme is being undertaken across a wide range of transport partners, with significant experience in event planning. This aims to:
- Manage the increased demands on our transport networks.
- Mitigate the impacts of restrictions on road and active travel networks.
- Influence travel behaviour.
Businesses and residents directly affected by the conference will receive specific, direct communications forewarning them of the likely impact during specified periods. Additionally affected businesses will be offered specific engagement sessions closer to the event.
The Get Ready Glasgow website has been set up to provide a trusted one-stop source of accurate, up to date, information for COP26.
Key Travel Tips for COP26
- Certain days are expected to be busier than others, consider your travel needs and plan ahead.
- Avoid the SEC.
- The M8 in and around Glasgow will be extremely busy - expect delays.
- Be active and environmentally friendly.
- Stay informed.
Further information can also be found at:
Whether you are attending COP26 events, commuting to work, or simply visiting Scotland, your travel will be significantly impacted. Some roads, cycle routes and footpaths will be closed from 23 October.