COP26 President Alok Sharma admitted he “regrets” logistical issues which left thousands of delegates queuing for hours to get into the summit.

Sharma, a Tory MP, was probed on the security protocols which left thousands of people queuing to get into the campus for up to two hours.

The UK Government has refused to apologise for the issue and said that the security arrangements were dictated by the UN.

With the expansive site at the SEC Campus in Glasgow almost reaching capacity by lunchtime on the first three days of the summit, Sharma said he hopes the issue will “settle” by the end of the week now world leaders have left.

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Asked by The New York Times about the logistical issues during a press conference, Sharma said that it was a “unique COP in quite extraordinary times”.

He said: “I can tell you that the feedback I have had personally from ministers and negotiators is that they do think what the UK together with the Secretariat, the UNFCC, have done is something really quite positive, that we have managed to organise this event in these covid times.

“Nevertheless of course we regret any logistical issues that are stopping people from coming in in a timely manner and we are working to fix those.

“Clearly on the first few days of COP when the world leaders have been here there has been particular pressure on the number of people coming to the venue and we’re seeing some of that today, but I hope that will settle over the next few days.”

The National:

Patricia Espinosa (pictured), Executive Director of the UNFCCC, said that it was an “issue of capacity”.

She said:”Let me give you an example, one of the situations is that the security control lanes have been reduced because they need to have more distance between all of them.

“So we do have a huge area as you can see and I’m sure you’re all feeling it in your feet that the COP venue is really very big but the capacity of the different installations has been reduced.

“The need to first control also the lateral flow test that every participant needs to take is also one more filter that we have never had before. It’s just an issue of capacity.”

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Espinosa added that she was “surprised” by the amount of people who had descended on Glasgow.

She added: “I feel this is fantastic because it shows people are committed and interested and engaged and they want to be there, and that’s very good, but it does pose a significant challenge in terms of logistics.”

Sharma and Espinosa were also quizzed on why Israeli minister and wheelchair user Karine Elharrar had to wait for two hours outside the venue, and eventually gave up and returned to her hotel, after there was no accessible way to enter the venue for her.

The National:

Espinosa (second left) and Sharma (centre) were quizzed on the logistical issues during a press conference

Sharma didn’t address the question, although the UK Government had already been forced to apologise.

But Espinosa added: “I don’t know how that went. Let me tell you this is an area that is very carefully planned.

“There is access, probably what happened is that the person did not go to the right entrance.

"I don’t want to take responsibility from us away, but I do want to make the point that that aspect has been one really we have taken care of.

“There have been situations of people complaining about accessibility problems so we really took special care in that.”