PARTS of the M8 motorway could be closed during COP26 amid security fears for travelling world leaders who are staying in Edinburgh during the summit.
Pope Francis, US President Joe Biden and the Queen are all staying in the capital for the summit, which is taking place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12.
The M8 is already one of the busiest motorways in the UK, and VIPs will be escorted off the motorway at a dedicated junction joining the Clyde Expressway which is reserved for COP26 traffic.
Police Scotland is understood to have been informed of planned protests near junction 19, at Anderston.
Transport sources said drivers faced delays on the M8 in Glasgow on November 1 and 2 if world leaders and their international delegations travelled via the motorway to reach the summit.
Some lanes be closed off completely to accommodate the officials.
A source told the Scotsman: “This may include around roadworks at the Woodside viaduct, between junctions 16 and 17, where the four lanes are reduced to two.
“There are security concerns about having to move VIPs through slow-moving traffic.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “Delivering such a complex event as COP26 means that some security road closures and restrictions may be needed in other areas of the country to facilitate the safety and security of world leaders, heads of state, delegates and local residents.
“We will work with partners to minimise local disruption and communicate in advance any road closures or diversions that are put in place, to allow for people to forward plan their own journeys.”
More than 100 heads of state are expected to attend the conference, along with representatives from around 200 countries.
Leader of City of Edinburgh Council Adam McVey said: “We’ve been working closely with key partners including the UK and Scottish governments, Police Scotland, local transport providers and other partners for more than a year-and-a-half to carefully prepare for the COP26 conference.
“While the event is being hosted Glasgow, we’re expecting it to be busy right across the Central Belt, including here in Edinburgh.
“We’ll shortly be launching a multi-channel communications campaign encouraging people to plan ahead, consider how and if they need to travel and to avoid peak times if possible.”
He added: “The campaign will aim to raise awareness of COP26 and what it represents, help to keep Edinburgh moving and open for business, while amplifying and reinforcing the national travel campaign launched by the Scottish Government earlier this week.”
Council depute Leader Cammy Day said: “This is a landmark event for the country and an opportunity for us all to reflect on our own impact on the world around us.
“As well as planning any journeys ahead, by leaving the car at home and choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport instead, we can each do our bit to support the aims of COP26, however small.”
Fresh details of security arrangements in place around the SEC in Glasgow follow the re-launch of Project Servator, a long-running Police Scotland anti-crime and anti-terror scheme, that will see front-line officers supported by specialist resources, including police dogs and horses, armed units, CCTV operators and security staff.
More than 10,000 UK officers are expected to arrive in Glasgow in the days leading up to COP26.
Around 2,500 Scottish officers are receiving extra training in how to manage large protests.
Chief Superintendent Mark Hargreaves, silver commander for the policing operation at the summit, said: “COP26 is one of the largest policing operations the UK has seen and we plan to utilise all resources at our disposal to support the delivery of a safe and secure event.
“Project Servator has proven to be an effective tactic in helping to disrupt criminal activity and keep people safe and has been deployed successfully at major events in the past, such as the Commonwealth Games and Edinburgh festivals.”