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Dhaka Monday,  Dec 6, 2021

COP 26: Glasgow ready ‘with caveats’ for climate summit

Glasgow’s council leader has insisted the city is ready for the COP26 conference – but “with caveats”.

Susan Aitken denied the city was a mess and said cleansing staff were “working round the clock” for the UN summit.

In a meeting with the Scottish Affairs Committee, she addressed accusations that bins were overflowing and rubbish collectors had suffered rat attacks.

The SNP councillor told MPs that other cities were dirtier than Glasgow and insisted she was “not embarrassed”.

Ms Aitken said: “The Cop26 board met last week and the verdict was that we are ready, with caveats.

“The caveats are mainly technical, some of them have already been resolved

“None of them were massive, none of them were enough to cause panic.”

Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, asked Ms Aitken whether the “technical issues” included cleansing staff being attacked by rats.

His comments came after the GMB union said it was aware of four binmen being taken to hospital after such attacks.

Ms Aitken admitted that there had been “small incidents” after “very minor contact with a rat”.

She added: “Our cleansing employees occasionally experience rats.

“It’s also not something that is unique to Glasgow, it’s something that’s happening right across the UK – all cities have rats.”

The city council leader was giving evidence to the Westminster committee about preparations for the climate summit, which begins on Sunday.

Last week, cleansing staff in Glasgow said they would strike for a week during the conference.

Ms Aitken told MPs that 12,000 additional hours had been worked to clean Glasgow ahead of Cop26, with 150 new bins deployed across the city.

She denied there was a rubbish problem in the city that was “unique to Glasgow”.

Ms Aitken added: “I reject entirely suggestions that Glasgow is somehow particular in this.”

“We are, as are other cities globally, working to address the very serious challenges and impacts that were caused by the pandemic, but we were never going to be able to recover overnight.

“We are making considerable progress, we’re working round the clock to address those issues – particularly in the Cop26 zones in the city – but actually right across the city.”

‘Not embarrassed’
Ms Aiken said the city’s efforts were not just for “VIPs coming to Glasgow”, but to improve services for residents.

She added: “I’m not embarrassed. I’m confident that the visitors coming to Glasgow will see – as they always see – an incredibly vibrant, diverse, and welcoming urban space.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also said she believes Glasgow “is ready for Cop26”.

She said: “I think there are challenges in Glasgow and challenges in cities across Scotland, the UK, the world – some of them related to Covid, some of them more fundamental than that.

“I’m not going to stand here and say they don’t exist in Glasgow.

“Glasgow – as it has been with big events in past years – will be an excellent host for Cop26, and that’s important.”

More on climate summit top strapline
The COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow in November is seen as crucial if climate change is to be brought under control. Almost 200 countries are being asked for their plans to cut emissions, and it could lead to major changes to our everyday lives.

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