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People at a conference discussing climate change and risks

COP26 climate change conference

Thousands of delegates have arrived for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. Around 120 world leaders are expected to attend the crucial United Nations summit from 31 October to 12 November.

The summit is taking place at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and will provide a great opportunity to showcase Glasgow and Scotland to the world. But they face a city where tourist attractions are closed, rail services are cancelled, transport disruption and about 1,500 cleaners and refuse collectors are out on strike – we know that climate change and the actions being taken by governments is highly emotive and this event is might attract protest activity.1

It is anticipated that given the size of the event that there may be some disruption within the area. Businesses need to be aware of the direct impact COP26 will have on them before, during and after the conference ends. Businesses can take steps to protect their staff, visitors and property to make sure they are prepared for any unrest that might occur. Planning and preparation can help businesses get the right protective measures in place. Consider developing a site-specific action plan that maps out measures and resources that would be needed to protect staff, visitors, property and equipment from damage and to help minimise business interruption.

Make sure that your employees are not in harm’s way

Protect your staff and visitors

During the conference there will be transport disruption with planned road closures and changes to public transport, however, in the event of demonstrations or industrial action it’s likely that there will be additional disruption to transport networks and temporary road closures. Staff and visitors could be exposed to injury or trauma if they are caught up in any protests, with restricted access routes to get to a place of safety.

To ensure the safety of your staff and visitors the following should be considered:

  • avoid travel and work from home where possible
  • postpone meetings with visitors, alternatively relocate or hold the meetings virtually
  • ask staff to carefully plan any journeys and monitor news reports to re-route as necessary
  • avoid being among demonstrators as seemingly peaceful protests may quickly become violent.

Secure and protect the property

While it is more than likely that any disruption during COP26 will be peaceful and safe, it is better to be prepared for all eventualities. Confirming that fire protection systems are in good working order and securing the building and utilities are key steps to help mitigate damage. Consider the impact of unauthorised access to the perimeter of your property for those businesses that maintain a yard, outside storage and other business structures.

Here are some tips to help protect your building:

  • keep automatic fire sprinkler systems and fire alarms in service
  • confirm that sprinkler control valves are in the open position and lock all control valves
  • have portable fire extinguishers throughout the property
  • secure all access points to prevent unauthorised access, including windows, skylights, roof access and yard areas
  • utilise a central station security alarm system and closed circuit cameras, if actively monitored.

Think about the following to help secure the perimeter to your property:

  • maintain full perimeter fencing with secure gates
  • ensure that emergency services can make contact to get access in an emergency
  • adequately light all sides of the building exterior, yard and 3 metres around the perimeter fence
  • consider removing yard storage from the property, securing in trailers or moving inside the building
  • provide signage around the perimeter prohibiting access and warning that trespassers will be prosecuted
  • ensure that security personnel remaining on-site are familiar with company emergency procedures and have a current directory of emergency contact numbers.

As part of your business continuity plan, thoughtfully consider and plan for the possibility of civil disturbance.

Plan early and identify steps to help prepare and protect your property.


1. COP26: Strikes and closures during Glasgow climate summit - BBC News