A PROMINENT Glasgow business figure has called for travel restrictions to be eased in the city centre as concern mounts that COP26 has been damaging for local firms.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, has called on Transport Scotland to drop guidance that has urged people to avoid unnecessary travel as the summit enters its final stretch.

His intervention comes after Glasgow entrepreneur Oli Norman, owner of itison and popular bars such as Brel in the west end, said the event has been a “damp squib” for pubs and restaurants.

Mr Patrick said current guidance from Transport Scotland means hospitality and retail businesses are losing out during COP26, which comes to a close on Friday.

“Glasgow’s hospitality and retail businesses are still struggling as they recover from the pandemic in addition to the challenges they face with staff and supply chain shortages,” he said. “They need support now more than ever and it is crucial that we do not discourage city centre visitors who bring with them the custom that is needed.

“While there are some businesses that have benefitted from hosting delegates and major events, the passing trade for the city centre during COP26 has been much lower than expected.

“Now that the world leaders have left and the peak of organised protestor events have occurred, we would urge Transport Scotland to lift the guidance around unnecessary travel to allow businesses to once again welcome trade.”

In response to Mr Patrick's comments, a spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “The Scottish Government firmly believes that hosting COP26 offers important economic opportunities for Glasgow, particularly for Glasgow’s accommodation and hospitality sectors but also for Scotland as a whole through new trade and investment opportunities.

“The COP26 Transport Plan was developed with Transport Scotland, the UK Government, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council to provide a safe, secure and resilient transport network for delegates and others travelling in the area, with public transport and active travel at its core.

“We knew that certain dates would be much busier than others, especially around the start of the conference and the planned days of activism. That’s why we asked people to plan their travel in advance and consider leaving their cars at home, to avoid gridlock and leave space for key workers and emergency services to make essential journeys.”