Scottish Parliament has spate of car accidents

Some drivers have had problems with the barrier. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Some drivers have had problems with the barrier. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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SCOTTISH Parliament bosses are being urged to look again at their £250,000 car park entry system after another spate of accidents.

Holyrood officials last year promised a more “hands-on” maintenance regime after it was revealed the parliament had paid out £7000 in compensation for cars damaged by the pop-up security barriers.

But the latest list of accidents in and around the parliament shows the barriers are still causing problems.

Tory MSP Liz Smith, whose car was left with two demolished front panels, a broken gearbox and damaged brakes after a barrier came up as she drove in, said it was time to review the entry system.
Details of accidents over the first ten months of this year show five barrier-related incidents. In one, the parliament had to pay out £252 to repair damage to a contractor’s vehicle after it drove over a raised barrier.

Within one two-week period, there were three separate incidents where contractors drove over a raised barrier.

In two cases, the cause is recorded as “Driver did not follow traffic signal” while the third was described as “false activation of control system”.

Ms Smith said she was disturbed to hear of the continuing incidents.

She added: “There have been several instances when the barrier has not been working for several days at a time and a member of staff has had to stand outside with a cone.

“I’m not an expert on security, but I don’t think the technology is very good. There is a lot of frustration among other MSPs and the staff are getting fed up, too.

“I think there needs to be a review of whether that’s the best kind of barrier to have.”

The car park and service yard accounted for more than one in ten of the accidents recorded between January and October 2013.

Other accidents in the area included a parliament employee who trapped a foot underneath the gate at the service yard and suffered an ankle injury opening it; another member of staff who lost control of a bike going down the car park ramp and skidded, falling and suffering a grazed elbow; two incidents where the automatic gate closed against people on bicycles; and an MSP staff member who received a £30 ex-gratia payments after being struck by an automatic door between the MSP block and the car park.

A parliament spokeswoman said: “There continues to be regular maintenance of the system which includes visual inspections every few days and regular checks by specialist engineers. All of these checks are up to date and there are no outstanding issues, with the system operating as expected.”

Cut lips, broken bones, lucky escapes and pond plunges

There were a total of 99 recorded accidents at the parliament in the ten-month period from January to October 2013.

• A visitor was struck with a “security wand” hand-held metal detector at the public entrance, causing a small cut to the lip.

• Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack broke her right arm after tripping on the main staircase.

• A parliament employee fell from a chair after one of its legs sank into soft ground in the MSP garden.

• A visitor grazed a knee after tripping over a bollard in the landscaped area.

• A parliament employee escaped injury when a louvered panel fell from the ceiling in the restaurant.

• “Floor defects” were blamed for a parliament staff member catching her heel on a gap in the door threshold at the Canongate entrance; a chair leg which went into a gap in the floor, causing a visitor to fall; and a chair leg which went into the gap between two sections of a floor grille, leading an MSP’s employee to fall.

• A visitor received an ex-gratia payment of £34.50 after falling into one of the ponds after failing to see its edge, but there was no payment to a visitor who slipped on slush and fell into one of the ponds, bruising a hand and knee.