A triangular roundabout?

By Elizabeth Gorrie

Over £220,000 of taxpayers’ money is being spent on a triangular roundabout to be built outside the Scottish Parliament in an effort to prevent a terrorist attack on the building.

The  ’roundabout’ will be built at the entrance of the Parliament’s underground car park in Holyrood Road, reaching a height of one metre.

According to a Parliament source: “The function of the chicane is to put an obstacle in front of the building. The idea is to make it impossible for someone to drive down Holyrood Road at high speed and crash the gates”.

Despite spending £90 million bomb proofing the Parliament when construction of the building began in 1999, MI5 revealed two years ago that there were not enough measures to protect it from an attack.

Plans for a ring of steel and concrete around Holyrood were announced one month ago after The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure advised that it would be unable to withstand a suicide bomb attack.

However, many MSPs, including Margo MacDonald are unsure if this is the correct way to be spending taxpayers’ money.

“How many of these kinds of incidents have there been? If it was a regular occurrence I would be prepared to take their word for it that this is a necessary precaution. But if it’s only a ‘what if’ I think we could find better use for the money”.

Yet perhaps MacDonald ought to look at what else the taxpayers’ money is being used for before being too critical of the roundabout. This year alone £100,000 has been provided to improve the exhibition in the Parliament’s foyer and to buy new aerials, which are to enhance mobile phone reception in the building.

It was revealed by the Edinburgh Evening News last year that a new swipe-card system in the car park worth over £250,ooo had broken down. All traffic lights were left on red and guards were needed to manually wave cars through.

The roundabout and other security improvements are already underway, it is however uncertain when work will be completed.

Holyrood defenceless against suicide attacks

By Laura Mclean

The Scottish Parliament is not strong enough to withstand a suicide bomb attack, despite having had £90 million spent on bomb-proofing the building, according to a report by the The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.

A ring of steel and concrete is to be erected surrounding the Scottish Parliament , two years after MI5 warned that not enough measures were being taken to protect Holyrood.

The move comes after the terror attack on Glasgow Airport 2 years ago when a Jeep Cherokee loaded with propane canisters was driven into the glass terminal doors at Glasgow International Airport.

A Parliament insider said today that discussions about increasing security have been in the pipeline for years but up until now no changes have been brought about.

He said: “The existing bollards were not thought to be strong enough and the fear was that a car being driven at speed could come through the glass front and into the building.”

parliament-exterior-at-night1

Over £90 million was spent bomb proofing the interior and exterior of the Scottish Parliament. But today it has been announced that a further £1.5 million is to be spent on a package of security improvements including new security gates and bollards will be erected at the entrance to the Holyrood building.

The architectural demands and safety regulations on the building were amongst the most rigorous in the construction industry in the 1990s. Consturcted from a mixture of granite, steel and glass the project was deemed as bomb-proof.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said they are taking measures to install street furniture that will fit with the surrounding area. She said:  “The intention is to produce additional security measures, which are tasteful and merge with the iconic status of the Scottish Parliament building.”

Security bollards surrounding the airport entrance stopped the car from entering the terminal. MI5 say that a similar attack in Edinburgh can be prevented by erecting a further 162 bollards outside of the Scottish Parliament

City councillors have reassured local residents that no additional clutter will be made to the Canongate streets.

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