Neptunus takes centre stage at COP26
For nearly 30 years the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country on the planet for global climate change summits called COPS, ‘Conference of the Parties’. The 26th edition of these international summits, COP26, was staged at the Scottish Events Centre (SEC) in Glasgow in November 2021.
World leaders, including US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and EU heads of state, joined tens of thousands of delegates representing more than 200 nations who gathered for two weeks of intense negotiations. COP26 was hosted by the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in partnership with Italy.
The scale of these annual gatherings is so massive that a huge temporary infrastructure is required in addition to permanent buildings to accommodate the delegations, VVIPs and the world’s media.
Neptunus is renowned for providing temporary structures to major international events for world governments and organisations such as NATO and the UN. In Glasgow, the company was assigned by live events specialists Identity Group who were charged with delivering a sustainable COP26 for the UK Government. The mission for Neptunus was to supply facilities for all the VVIPs, registration areas for the thousands attending the summit and to build the all-important Plenary Rooms where the crucial debates and speeches were held.
Alure Globe and Alure Globe Giant are aluminium clear span structures with a distinctive curved roof. The modern design offers multi-functional accommodation and in Glasgow the structures, covering over 5,000 square metres, were used for VVIP meetings and breakout areas and incorporated a dedicated private office for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staff.
The main Plenary Conference Rooms were situated within two 10-metre-high Evolution II structures each providing 4,500 square metres of space. Neptunus technicians also built the walkways linking the temporary structures and a vast Alu Hall that formed the delegates’ registration area with cloakrooms and numerous offices.
A 30-strong team from Neptunus took 5 weeks to erect 30,000 square metres of temporary structures for the assignment and then took just 4 weeks to dismantle and remove all the equipment from site. Technicians were responsible for scaffolding required for the build and creating DDA sloped walkways, ramps and stairs within the facilities.
COP26 was the biggest summit ever hosted in the UK. Naturally security was absolutely paramount not just during the event itself but in the build up to an occasion that would be attended by so many VVIPs. A steel security cordon was erected around the entire SEC site with COP26 staged in buildings on both sides of the River Clyde which flows through the centre of the city.
The scale of the project required a complex logistics operation to be implemented with 130 articulated lorry loads of equipment needed to be delivered to site for the build. All equipment deliveries had to pass stringent security checks, as did all personnel entering the SEC.
Challenges were met by Neptunus’ team working very closely with Identity’s team in the planning stages of the event and being able to be flexible and to swiftly adapt to changing Covid circumstances which was a further complication to work around.
Technicians also had to provide a secure access for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles, who represented HM The Queen at COP26, from the Plenary Rooms to the VVIP’s areas.
Sustainability was of course an essential ingredient for COP26. Neptunus was able to demonstrate its Green credentials with virtually all equipment used on the project able to be dismantled and reused on further projects in the future.
David Naylor, Senior Production Manager at Identity, says: “We were pleased to work with Neptunus again on this high-profile event. Ben (Keast – Managing Director) and their wider team’s flexibility and solution-based mindset, coupled with their wide range of structures available, allowed the dynamic project requirements to be regularly adjusted to give us the platform to deliver an incredible event and showcase the UK’s ability to deliver first class events.”