4th April 2020

Environment Scottish government offer to resolve COP26 Science Centre row

Environment Scottish government offer to resolve COP26 Science Centre row

Environment

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Scottish ministers have offered to resolve a row which risked derailing the Glasgow COP26 climate conference.

It was claimed the UK government threatened to move the event after discovering the Scottish government had already booked a key venue.

The Scottish environment secretary has now said the UK government can use the Glasgow Science Centre, which was at the centre of the dispute.

The UK government said it welcomed the news the centre would be available.

The Scottish government originally intended to use the centre as an “engagement space”.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham’s offer to the UK government follows several weeks of talks over whether the venue could be shared between the two governments.

The row over the centre became public after the former COP26 president, Claire O’Neill, was sacked by the prime minister.

Ms Cunningham said she had now written to the new president, Business Secretary Alok Sharma, offering to relinquish control of the centre if a suitable alternative can be found for the Scottish government.

She said the centre had been placed in a “difficult position” after the UK government said it was not prepared to share the space.

It is understood the venue will form part of the “green zone” in the official UN-controlled site.

Ms Cunningham said: “In recent weeks, significant progress had been made towards agreement of a shared space. However, at the end of last week, it became clear that sharing the Glasgow Science Centre is no longer an option for the UK government, placing the centre in a difficult position.

“We have no desire for uncertainty to continue, as we have always been clear that COP26 should transcend politics.”

She told MSPs she had written to Mr Sharma in the “spirit of partnership”, offering to transfer control of the venue.

“I therefore urge the UK government to conclude this matter without delay to ensure we have a platform to pursue increased global action,” she added.

A COP26 spokesperson said: “We welcome the news that the Glasgow Science Centre will now be available for use at COP26.

“We will continue to work with partners across the UK to ensure that COP26 is a successful, inclusive event which brings the world together to address the pressing issue of climate change.”

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