Think ahead before travelling during COP26 urges campaign

Edinburgh’s travelling public have been urged to plan ahead during the COP26 conference, as part of a new communications campaign launched today by the City of Edinburgh Council and its partners.

The Council has joined with Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, with support from Police Scotland and local transport providers, to share the ‘plan ahead and stay informed’ message, as the major event approaches.

Around 140 world leaders and 25,000 delegates are expected to gather in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November to agree next steps in tackling the climate crisis. As a result, roads and public transport services across the central belt, including in Edinburgh, are anticipated to be busier than usual and journeys are likely to take longer during this time.

From today, and throughout the coming weeks, messages will be shared through the media, social media and digital and on-street advertising suggesting people plan any travel ahead to minimise disruption, avoid peak times and work from home if possible.

The Council has worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce to create a new dedicated website, highlighting the latest travel information and to provide support and advice for local businesses. It also highlights some of the fantastic work going on around Edinburgh helping to achieve its 2030 net zero target. Visit to find out more.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: 

“COP26 is a major event for Scotland and we’ve been gearing up to support it for many months, along with partners like the Scottish and UK Governments, Police Scotland and transport providers. While most of the events will take place in the host city of Glasgow, it’s going be extremely busy in Edinburgh. A huge number of people will be staying in the Capital and our own programme of events means Edinburgh will share some of the hosting responsibilities.

That’s why, today, we’re launching a campaign urging people to take stock if they’re planning to travel during the two-week conference, whether it’s between Edinburgh and Glasgow or here in the Capital. We know there’s going to be more traffic on the roads so please plan any journeys ahead, avoid peak times and work from home if you can.

It’s also an opportunity to think about how we get from A to B in our compact, walkable city. As leaders from around the world prepare to tackle the urgent issue of climate change, we’re encouraging everyone to think about how they can lower their own carbon footprints where possible to embrace the spirit of COP, considering swapping car trips for walking, wheeling, cycling or taking our outstanding public transport.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day said: 

“We want to make sure the city keeps moving and remains open for business throughout COP26. Officers from public safety, traffic information and resilience teams, amongst others, have been hard at work planning, in collaboration with partners, to make sure this will be the case.

As part of the campaign we’re also encouraging the public to consider their travel choices and the impact these have on the world around us. With road traffic accounting for almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the city, swapping the car for a journey by foot, wheel, bike or public transport both supports our net zero goals and can avoid disruption during this busy period.”

Nicola Blaney, Head of Events Resilience for Transport Scotland, added: 

“While the main event is in Glasgow, the demand on our public transport and wider network is expected to be unprecedented and will have a severe knock-on impact on journey times in surrounding areas, stretching across the central belt and possibly beyond. There are also a number of additional factors from protest activity, planned and unplanned, as well as non-COP26-related activities such as major sporting events and marches.

I would urge people to plan ahead and consider whether any journeys they make are necessary. Certain days are going to be much busier than others – the 1, 2, 5 and 6 of November in particular – so consider your travel needs. Work remotely if you can or make alternative arrangements. Avoid peak hours if possible, and retime and reroute if you want to avoid congested areas.”

The new dedicated web pages will include the most up-to-date travel information while the @edintravel traffic information team will be carefully monitoring the city’s roads seven days a week, sharing the latest information on disruption and diversions on Twitter. We’ll also be liaising with Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams to keep people informed about their services.

A second strand of the campaign will focus on Edinburgh’s own sustainability targets, and the part individuals, businesses and organisations across the city can play. This will showcase some of the ground-breaking innovations underway to deliver a climate-ready, resilient city, and highlight the change that is needed to achieve our net zero by 2030 goal.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, Police Scotland, said: 

“A considerable part of our planning for COP26 has been to ensure that there is minimal disruption to communities of Scotland as a result of the policing operation. However, some disruption is inevitable with an event of this significance and the increased number of visitors to Edinburgh and Glasgow, in particular. The road network across the central belt will be busier than normal and people should allow extra time for their journeys.”

A spokesperson from the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said: 

“With the projected increases in traffic and journeys, and with potential disruptions because this global and essential event is taking place in Scotland, it makes perfect sense for us all to plan our journeys carefully and – wherever possible – use an alternative to the car. It helps the environment and it may well get you to your destination faster.”