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.