Controversial bollards "go against" spirit of Scottish Parliament


By Michael MacLeod

FAILING new security bollards around the Scottish Parliament have been criticised by an MSP who says they defy the idea of open parliament.

The SNP’s John Wilson says the £40,000 bollards – which can be automatically lowered into the ground to allow access – are like “a ring of steel.”

He fears the perimeter barrier – designed to prevent terror attacks – sends out the wrong message to the public.

Wilson’s comments come after reports that Holyrood chiefs were left red-faced when three mechanical bollards got stuck when a VIP tried to get in.

The blunder is said to have forced Lord David Wilson, the Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland, to enter the Scottish Parliament by a side door.

“Ring of steel”

Backbench SNP member John Wilson said: “The security measures clearly don’t seem to be working yet come at a very expensive price.

“They also go against one of the concepts of the Scottish Parliament, which was for it to be people-friendly and inclusive.

“A ring of steel and concrete around the parliament is not a welcoming sight for people.”

The bollards were installed in April after MI5 warned existing security measures had to be upgraded.

They are joined outside the building by long concrete benches, a triangular roundabout and security turnstiles – all designed to protect those inside.

“Teething problem”

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said the bollards’ designers, Avon Barriers, were working to repair the hydraulic barriers.

They said: “They regard it as a teething problem and will fix it at their own cost.”

Paul Jeffrey, managing director of Avon Barriers, admitted the bollards had been misfiring.

He said: “There was probably some dirt from the installation that got inside the tubes, which has made them a bit sticky.

“They have been taken out and cleaned up.

“This is part of the installation process.”