Scottish Water worker rescues a family of ducks

The duck and her young chicks were spotted walking along George Street in Edinburgh.

A Scottish Water worker helped a duck and her young chicks get back to safety after he found them waddling along one of Edinburgh’s busiest streets.

David Lindsay said he was “stunned” to see the group of mallards walking along George Street while he was out working. 

He followed the mother and her ten ducklings as they walked along the road – slowing down traffic on the road to ensure they were safe and also managed to capture the rare sight on video.

The 50-year-old was worried the ducks had got lost and contacted the Scottish SPCA, who came and rescued the birds and took them to the safety of the Water of Leith.

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David said: “I was out repairing a water burst when I looked up and could not believe my eyes.

“There was a proud mummy duck with tiny chicks waddling behind her down one of Edinburgh’s main streets.”

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, praised David for getting in touch with the charity – and helping ensure they got to safety.

He said: “Ducks often nest in high places for safety and then make their way down to ground level with their ducklings.

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“In this case the duck probably made her nest on the roof or on a balcony of a nearby building before coming down to street level.

“We’re really grateful to David for looking out for the family of birds and giving us a call.

“The public are our eyes and ears and thanks to his quick response we were able to get the ducks to safety.”

Rail strikes during COP26 off after deal struck with RMT union

Scottish Government and ScotRail reach settlement with union in dispute over pay and conditons.

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Strike action has been averted during COP26.

A deal has been done to avert ScotRail train staff striking during the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

The one-year deal includes a 2.5% pay rise agreed between the RMT union, ScotRail and the Scottish Government.

World leaders and thousands of delegates are set to arrive in Glasgow for the United Nations climate summit, but the 13-day event has been threatened with disruption caused by rail strikes.

The deal will see strike action during the summit averted, as well as the end of long-running strike action that has affected Sunday services.

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The RMT set out its final negotiating position earlier on Wednesday ahead of a 5pm deadline.

In a letter sent to union members after Wednesday evening’s talks, RMT general secretary Michael Lynch said: “I can advise you that subsequent negotiations have been held and that your union made a counter offer to ScotRail.

“By accepting the offer all industrial action is now cancelled and I instruct you all to work normally on the days you had previously been instructed to take action on.”

The new terms accept the union’s call for a 2.5% pay rise backdated to April and a “Cop26 payment” for all staff of £300.

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A three-hour book on allowance applied to each rest day worked, applicable for 12 months from the date of the agreement, is also included.

Lynch said the union’s offer was accepted “unanimously” by delegates.

His letter added: “It was noted that it was only through the tremendous determination of you and your colleagues throughout this dispute, through the efforts of your representatives, activists and negotiators that this result was achieved.

“The AGM congratulates you and I congratulate you on achieving this magnificent industrial victory and gaining a one-year pay deal and rest day working agreement without any preconditions and which banishes the previously stated productivity strings attached.”

Earlier this week, Scotland’s transport minister Graeme Dey warned he was “not optimistic” that a resolution would be reached with the RMT before the 5pm deadline.

He was facing calls to quit if a deal could not be reached to prevent the strike during Cop26.

In response to the recent announcement, Dey said: “Following recent discussions we are pleased that all four trade unions have now agreed to accept this very good pay offer on behalf of their members.

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“We are proud to have brokered and funded a deal which gives Scotland’s rail workers a decent pay rise and improved terms and conditions, in contrast to conditions for rail workers under the UK Government.

“We are also pleased that the RMT reached out to restart discussions based on the offer that had been made to them on Sunday. Now an agreement has been confirmed the strike action will thankfully now come to an end.

“As well as getting the pay rise they deserve, railway workers can now go back to delivering rail services for people right across Scotland and as well as for those attending COP26.

Three other unions representing rail workers – Aslef, Unite and the TSSA – had already accepted a deal put on the table.

Ian McConnell, ScotRail chief operating officer, said: “We have reached a pay agreement with the RMT trade union that resolves strike action. We look forward to Scotland’s railway playing its part in delivering a successful COP26 next week.”

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People need to ‘change diet and flying habits for climate’

Scientific advisers from around the world call on leaders to take urgent action to limit warming to 1.5C.

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Statement was signed by nearly 40 chief scientists.

Tackling the climate crisis will require behavioural changes such as eating less meat and flying less, as well as green technology, the UK’s chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir Patrick Vallance made the comments as he joined senior scientific advisers from around the world to issue a statement ahead of the COP26 climate talks, calling on leaders to take urgent action to limit warming to 1.5C – beyond which more severe impacts of global warming will be felt.

The statement, signed by nearly 40 chief scientists and equivalents said it was still possible to curb temperature rises to 1.5C, but only with steep reductions in global emissions by 2030 and reducing them to zero overall by 2050.

They said stabilising the climate would limit sea level rises and extreme weather events, improve prosperity and protect human health and nature.

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The advisers said addressing climate change would require intense international collaboration on research and innovation to develop and deliver new solutions across all sectors of the global economy.

Action to adapt to the consequences of climate change that are already inevitable “is critical”, they warned.

The statement, released as leaders and negotiators head to Glasgow for the latest round of UN talks to tackle the climate crisis, said limiting warming “will require rapid, urgent and sustained action and significant behavioural, socioeconomic and technological transformations across the world”.

“This must begin with rapid scale-up and deployment of a wide range of existing and novel technological solutions.”

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Governments should focus on piloting and scaling up existing green technologies over the next decade, accelerate development of next-generation solutions, and involve every part of society in the green transition, which must be affordable, accessible and fair, they said.

Sir Patrick said the message to world leaders is that “1.5C is achievable, it’s absolutely what we should be aiming for” but it requires action now.

He said this decade is the decade of research and development of innovation as it has to be scaled and applied now or the world will not be able to reach the 1.5C target.

“It’s going to require detailed plans, it’s going to require technology, it’s going to require behavioural change and it’s going to require monitoring in order to achieve this, including monitoring of emissions.”

On behavioural changes, Sir Patrick said reductions in meat eating and flying would need to happen, adding: “There will be a move away from the extent of meat eating we’ve seen in the past, and I think we will all need to think about our flying habits.

“But of course, coupled to that, there’s also technological advances, so as options for green transport become real that will change again.

“One of the climate challenge is it’s a series of small things from all of us that turn into a big change.

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“Those little things that appear like they’re not very much are important when they are aggregated across many many millions of people.”

He said most of the technologies needed to shift to a greener world are already “visible”, and warned against relying on a “magic new technology” coming along in future years that would solve the problem.

He added that the “green choice needs to be the easy choice” for people, including on price, convenience and with a clear understanding of what they can do on an individual level to make a difference.

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Three children and woman hit by car as ten ambulances sent to scene

Ten ambulances were dispatched to the scene in Carluke, South Lanarkshire.

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The Scottish Ambulance Service said the incident was ongoing.

Ten ambulances have been sent to the scene of a crash in which three children and a woman were struck by a car.

Emergency services were called to Kirkton Street in Carluke, South Lanarkshire, shortly after 3pm on Wednesday.

A woman in her 20s and three children have been taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said the incident was ongoing.

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Carluke, South Lanarkshire.
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A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received a call at 3.07pm to attend an incident on Kirkton Street, Carluke and dispatched 10 resources to the scene.

“One female in her twenties and three children have been transported to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow.” 

Inspector William Broatch, from Motherwell Road Policing Unit, said: “Around 3.10pm, police were called to James Street in Carluke, at the junction with Kirkton Street, following a report of a road crash involving a car and four pedestrians – a woman and three children.

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Junction of Kirkton Street and James Street in Carluke.

“The pedestrians are all being conveyed to hospital for treatment. Emergency services remain at the scene and local diversions are in place.

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“Anyone with information on the incident can call police on 101, quoting incident 2110 of October 27.”

More to follow.


Art exhibit at Dundee’s Slessor Gardens celebrates Black History Month

The posters – designed by two different artists – decorate the popular walkway down to the waterfront.

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Adinkra Way: Senanu Tordzro is highlighting Scotland's connection to Ghana.

A series of artworks have been installed in Dundee’s Slessor Gardens as part of Black History Month.

The posters – designed by two different artists – decorate the popular walkway down to the waterfront.

Claire Yspol has produced 30 different posters, which she has named A Lyrical Bibliography. They showcase essays, poems and other artworks from black artists, writers, thinkers and designers she admires.

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Dundee: A series of artworks have been installed in Slessor Gardens as part of Black History Month.

The works form their own poetic text and can be used as a resource to find out more about the creators highlighted.

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On the other side of the walkway, Scotland’s connection with Ghana is being shown through a series of works by Senanu Tordzro.

Her trail, named the Adinkra Way, features communication symbols from Ghana decorated with Ghanaian textiles.

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Artwork: Some of the posters feature messages of love, hope and courage.

The messages of love, hope and courage all have a relevance and meaning in Scotland as well as the African country.

Ms Tordzro said: “I’m really interested in the past and how my culture has been so deeply integrated in Scottish culture.

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“I really wanted to represent that and to show people that somewhere as far away as Africa isn’t as far as we think. It’s right here in Scotland in people’s homes if we just search for it.”

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Black History Month: The posters have been described as ‘beautiful and thought-provoking’.

Councillor Georgia Cruickshank, who chairs the cross-party City of Dundee and Black History Working Group, said: “We were delighted to be able to provide such a high-profile site that gets a lot of people walking past it to highlight the creative talents of two black female artists.

“As well as being beautiful and thought-provoking, they act as a good way of starting conversations that think about how we can address some of the major issues of our time around race.”

Train services cancelled and roads flooded as rain batters Scotland

An amber and yellow weather warning was issued by the Met Office for parts of the country on Wednesday.

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Flooding: Scotland hit by heavy rain following amber and yellow weather warnings.

Heavy rain has flooded roads and cancelled rail services in parts of south west Scotland.

An amber weather warning was issued for Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, starting at 9pm on Wednesday and continuing until Thursday morning.

Around 60 to 80mm of rainfall is expected to build up, with up to 100mm falling in some areas. 

A separate yellow warning extends to South Lanarkshire and will be in place until 3pm on Thursday.

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The Met Office said there could be a “danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater”.

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Flooding in Summerston, Glasgow

The amber alerts also warn of potential damage to homes and businesses from flooding, dangerous driving conditions and travel disruption.

Communities could be cut off by flooded roads and face power cuts, according to the Met Office.

ScotRail said a number of services had been affected by heavy rain, with flooding at Bishoppbriggs and Dalmuir closing two rail lines.

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Speed restrictions have been put in place on services due to surface water and a replacement bus service between Stirling and Alloa has been introduced.

Network Rail advised passengers to travel only if the journey is “absolutely necessary”.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “Extreme rainfall can pose a serious risk to the railway, causing landslips or damaging our infrastructure and bridges.

“The safety of our passengers and colleagues is our main priority during periods of poor weather, and slowing services down and running fewer trains will help us manage these conditions for everyone.”

Meanwhile GlasGlow announced that its light show at Glasgow Botanic Gardens had to be cancelled last minute due to blocked drain at its entrance.

A post on the GlasGlow Facebook page said: “In the last 45 minutes the drain at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens has been overwhelmed and half a foot of water is blocking the entrance and road.

“The council have been alerted but unfortunately the entrance will be inaccessible to allow us to open safely. Inside the gardens, the show is fine and ready to go, the problem unfortunately is on the roads and out with our control.

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“We’re so sorry for the short notice however this situation has just arisen. If you’re a ticket holder for this evening a full refund will be processed and an email is on its way.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency tweeted: “A band of persistent and heavy rain in the south may lead to localised flooding from surface water and watercourses on Wednesday causing disruption to travel and flooding of low-lying land, especially in built up areas.”

The agency issued a flood warning for Ettrick Valley, while three flood alerts were in place in the Scottish Borders.


Celtic move within two points of Rangers with win at Hibernian

First half goals gave Celtic a 3-1 victory at Easter Road.

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Anthony Ralston opened the scoring for Celtic.

Celtic produced a rampant first-half performance as they moved within two points of cinch Premiership leaders Rangers with a 3-1 victory over Hibernian at Easter Road.

Tony Ralston, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kyogo Furuhashi all struck before the break to earn Ange Postecoglou’s resurgent side a fifth consecutive win in all competitions. Hibs, meanwhile, were left licking their wounds after a fourth consecutive defeat.

Home manager Jack Ross made four changes to the side beaten at Aberdeen last weekend as Darren McGregor, Chris Cadden, Jamie Gullan and Lewis Stevenson dropped out and were replaced by Ryan Porteous, Alex Gogic, Jamie Murphy and Josh Doig.

Celtic made just one alteration from the side that beat St Johnstone on Saturday. Mikey Johnston came in for his first start of the season, with Georgios Giakoumakis dropping to the bench.

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Ralston had the first effort of the match in the fourth minute but his low shot from 25 yards ran harmlessly wide of the Hibs goal.

The right-back fared better six minutes later, however, when he found space at the back post to nod in a David Turnbull free-kick from six yards.

Hibs almost responded two minutes later when Martin Boyle threaded a pass across goal for Joe Newell who was bursting in at the far post but the midfielder’s shot from close range was superbly saved by goalkeeper Joe Hart.

A minute later Celtic scored from another set-piece when Carter-Vickers got in front of Porteous to stab in Turnbull’s corner from 10 yards.

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There should have been more reason for the visitors to celebrate in the 20th minute when Johnston dummied a pass by Jota into the path of Turnbull but the former Motherwell player blazed high and wide from a great position just inside the box.

Celtic were well on top and the third goal arrived on the half-hour when, after good work by Tom Rogic, the ball broke to Jota wide on the right and the Portuguese squared for Kyogo to tap in from close range.

Hibs were in disarray and Matt Macey had to make a brilliant save to stop Kyogo netting again after the Japanese got in behind.

The hosts pulled one back against the run of play in the 36th minute when Newell’s corner was nodded in, with both Boyle and Porteous claiming they had got the final touch.

Celtic suffered a blow just before the break when Rogic was forced off by injury and replaced by Nir Bitton.

Hibs spent much of the second half probing to try and find another goal but the closest they came was in the 75th minute when Jamie Murphy got in behind and was denied by a brilliant save from Hart.


Man found guilty of terrorism after online mosque attack plot

Sam Imrie, 24, posted messages on social media claiming he was planning to attack Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes. 

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A man has been found guilty of terrorism and other offences after he threatened to set fire to an Islamic centre in Fife.

Sam Imrie, 24, was arrested after detectives discovered in July 2019 that he had been posting messages on social media claiming he was planning to attack Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes. 

Police who searched his home at Colliston Avenue in Glenrothes also made a number of other discoveries.

Officers found Imrie had acquired an arsenal of weapons, which included a combat knife, nunchucks, an axe, a knife, a hammer, a rifle scope and a wooden-handled lock knife.  

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Prosecutor Lisa Gillespie QC told the court how the police also recovered a “manifesto” entitled the “Great Replacement” by far right terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 people when he attacked two mosques in New Zealand in March 2019.

They also recovered a manifesto written by Anders Breivik, another fascist who slaughtered 77 people in attacks in Norway in 2011. 

Detectives found computer equipment containing thousands of images glorifying far-right terrorism attacks and Nazi ideology. 

Some of the images referred to Tarrant and Breivik as “saints” and one image was of pop star Taylor Swift, which had been photoshopped – the lenses of sunglasses she was wearing had been doctored to include swastikas.

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They found he possessed copies of Adolf Hitler’s work Mein Kampf, indecent images of children and extreme images that showed dead mutilated women being subjected to sexual acts. 

Imrie also possessed copies of the video that Tarrant had made of himself carrying out the shootings.

The 24-year-old was caught after officers in the Metropolitan Police tipped off Police Scotland counterparts. 

English officers had been scrutinising a group called ‘FashWave Artists’ on Telegram, an instant messaging app. 

The group hosted images and memes glorifying fascism but Imrie posted a series of messages in which he said he was planning to “burn down” a mosque. 

He also said he had written to Breivik. 

Detectives found CCTV footage of Imrie trying the door at the mosque before driving away. 

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A jury heard how armed police officers swooped on Imrie’s home at 2am and took him into custody. 

On Wednesday, Imrie, who denied any wrongdoing, was convicted on two charges of breaching the terrorism act, wilful fireraising, possessing child and ‘extreme’ indecent images and drink driving.

Moments after Ms Gillespie said the Crown were considering seeking a Serious Crime Prevention Order against Imrie, Lord Mulholland remanded the first offender in custody.

Imrie was told that the judge needed a background report before he could be sentenced.

Lord Mulholland also warned Imrie: “Be under no illusion – you have been convicted of very serious offences including gathering information about terrorism and encouraging terrorism, child pornography and extreme pornography. 

“You will not be surprised to know that you will be receiving a sentence of some length.”

Lord Mulholland spoke moments after jurors returned guilty verdicts to two terrorism charges. 

The first terrorism charge stated that Imrie made statements on Telegram and Facebook that encouraged acts of terrorism. 

The second charge he was convicted of stated that Imrie made a “record of information” that would be useful to somebody who was committing acts of terrorism. 

He was acquitted of a terrorism charge that stated he engaged in conduct in “preparation” of terrorism acts. 

Following his conviction, Pat Campbell, Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable for organised crime, counter terrorism and intelligence, said: “Sam Imrie was a socially-isolated-individual who displayed hateful intentions and the potential consequences of his actions do not bear thinking about. Police Scotland welcomes the outcome of the trial, which brings to a close what was an extremely complex investigation.

“I am grateful for the hard work and diligence of the officers who carried out the fast moving inquiry, as well as the support of our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

“It should be stressed that cases such as Imrie’s are rare in Scotland and our officers remain absolutely committed to working with our partners to protect our communities.

“I want to take this opportunity to appeal directly to the public that if you become aware of anyone, including a family member or friend, displaying extremist views, or are concerned that they could be radicalised or involved in extremist or terrorist activity, not to hesitate to contact the police.

“Advice is available at the ACT Early Counter Terrorism Policing website and anyone with concerns should contact Police Scotland or the confidential anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.”


COP26 lodging crisis: Thousands of delegates without somewhere to stay

Thousands of delegates and even more activists have not found accommodation for the UN climate conference.

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There are no campsites or camping facilities in Glasgow and the council is not setting any up for COP26.

There is no backup plan to provide shelter to thousands of people who have not found a place to stay during the UN climate conference.

Those coming to Glasgow to take part in events around COP26 have been warned not to travel to the city without securing accommodation, while even official UN badge holders are still struggling to secure somewhere to stay.

The UN climate conference has been facing a lodging crisis after only 15,000 hotel rooms were secured in advance despite more than 25,000 delegates, 10,000 police officers, and thousands more campaigners and activists expected.

The official housing bureau for the event only pre-booked 5000 rooms within 20 miles of the Scottish Exhibition Centre where COP26 will take place, a third of what was available.

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There are fewer than 15,000 hotel rooms within 20 miles of the SEC where COP26 is taking place.
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Even though environmental organisations have urged Glasgow City Council to work with them to open up gym halls as mass emergency accommodation or set aside designated campsites, no backup has been put in place.

“Last-minute” agreements have brought two cruise ships to the Clyde to provide 3300 berths between them.

With 100,000 activists due to take part in a climate march, there is fear that some will be left outside in the cold November weather with nowhere to shelter.

There are no campsites or camping facilities in Glasgow and the council is not setting any up for COP26.

“That’s where our concern lies, there isn’t a backup plan.”

Dr Kat Jones, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
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Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of environmental organisations, said at least 2000 people are on the waiting list of the Homestay Network – a not-for-profit response to the accommodation crisis.

The network was set up to help civil society and community representatives from the Global South attend the climate talks, but it has found itself swamped with requests from official delegates.

Around 1000 Scots have opened their homes to visitors through the scheme but the organisation’s COP26 project manager said it has not been possible to absorb the numbers left without a place to stay.

“We have been in conversation with the council over a number of months about opening gym halls for emergency accommodation and setting up safe camping spaces where we can put portaloos, but they haven’t really helped us with that,” said doctor Kat Jones.

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Dr Kat Jones and Janice Fisher at the Scottish Affairs Committee.

“That’s where our concern lies, there isn’t a backup plan.”

MCI Group was appointed by the UK Government and the UN as the official housing bureau for COP26.

Janice Fisher, joint chair of Greater Glasgow Hoteliers Association, told a government committee that within two miles of the exhibition centre there are only 9750 hotel bedrooms and that within 20 miles this only increased to 14,399 – but MCI only secured a third of these.

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Ms Fisher said MCI had been asked to secure accommodation in other parts of the country as well to encourage a range of offers and pricing.

She said there were alternative ways of booking somewhere to stay including the Homestay Network, campsites outside the city and Airbnb.

An Airbnb host was banned from taking bookings during COP26 after attempting to hike a delegate’s room rate by £2000.

Dr Jones urged those who have not secured a place to sleep to take part in the conference in their local areas.

“There are all sorts of activities not centred around Glasgow, in London, many cities around England and a few others in Scotland,” she said.

“We’d encourage people to go to their local place rather than travel to Glasgow.”

A UK Government COP26 spokesperson said it had been working with MCI to make sure there was a balance of available lodging.

They said: “As hosts of COP26 it is of huge importance to the UK there is a wide range of fairly-priced accommodation options available which suit the budgets of delegates attending from around the world.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council warned the weather in November in Glasgow can be very cold and changeable.

They said: “As we, and others, have been saying over the last few weeks, Glasgow will be extremely busy with delegates and visitors as COP26 gets underway.

“We would ask people wishing to stay in the city not to travel to Glasgow without first securing accommodation.”


‘Scotland should open consumption rooms without law change’

The campaigners were speaking before the Criminal Justice Committee at Holyrood.

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The facilities were first suggested after an HIV outbreak in Glasgow.

Scotland should open drug consumption rooms without waiting for a change in the law, campaigners have said.

The Scottish Government has long been in favour of the facilities, which would provide a safe area with medical supervision for people struggling with addiction to take drugs.

But the UK Government has stood against the idea, refusing to grant a waiver to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 that would allow for the users and staff to be protected from prosecution.

The first facility was planned by Glasgow City Council but other local authorities have expressed an interest.

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Campaigner Peter Krykant ran a safe consumption room from a converted minivan in Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)
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Campaigner Peter Krykant, frustrated with the legal wrangle over the facilities, created his own in the form of a converted minivan that would go to different areas of the city.

Both Mr Krykant and Scottish Drugs Forum chief executive David Liddell OBE said the fact no prosecutions have resulted from the van shows the Scottish Government could give the go-ahead for the facilities.

“When I ran the safe consumption facility in Glasgow, there was no police intervention apart from a meaningless allegation of obstruction in the course of a search, so we could go ahead and open these facilities with a simple divert scheme into those facilities,” Mr Krykant told Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday.

“I already know Police Scotland officers were seeing people injecting in alleyways and diverting them to my ambulance to come and inject in a safe, supervised environment to reduce the risk of HIV.”

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Mr Liddell said: “As Peter has alluded to in terms of the drug consumption room he ran, there was no public interest in prosecuting Peter and no prosecution followed.

“It’s a ridiculous state of affairs that he could run a service like that and not be prosecuted but Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board that want to run a service like that can’t.

“We should proceed with drug consumption rooms in Scotland under the current legislation.

“If that requires a letter of comfort from the Lord Advocate – that is what we’ve previously advocated and pushed for.”

The Scottish Government has said as recently as this month that work continues to find a way to open the facilities.

In a meeting with UK policing minister Kit Malthouse, drugs minister Angela Constance said “we will leave no stone unturned in working to overcome existing legal barriers to implement safe consumption rooms in Scotland”.

The calls for the facilities began in the middle of the last decade following a major HIV outbreak in Glasgow, but these have now morphed into a response to the drugs death crisis, which figures show killed 1339 people in 2020.


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