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Ryder Cup: ‘Ring of steel’ to deter terrorists

Gleneagles Hotel will be among the venues receiving protection during the event. Picture: Neil Hanna

Gleneagles Hotel will be among the venues receiving protection during the event. Picture: Neil Hanna

A TWO-MONTH ring of steel will be used to protect one of the world’s biggest sporting events from terrorist attack.

Extensive security measures have been unveiled as Perthshire prepares to welcome the Ryder Cup.

Concerns over “hostile” action could result in several paths around Auchterarder being completely closed to the public for almost two months.

Councillors today considered a report which claims removing access rights will help keep competitors and high-profile visitors safe during the tournament.

From August 11 until September 29, core paths surrounding the Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder Golf Club and Blackfords Farm will be inaccessible, with further restrictions expected to come into place when the competitions begins.

Meanwhile, additional CCTV and IT-based warning systems will be implemented, alongside increased security teams.

Head of environmental and consumer services at Perth and Kinross Council, Keith McNamara said the measures were being imposed “on the grounds of safety and security”.

He added: “The reason for requesting exemption for certain areas of land outwith the Gleneagles Hotel’s grounds requires some clarification.

“These are areas adjacent to the event site, which Ryder Cup Europe’s security advisors consider could be used by undesirable individuals to reconnoitre the event site, or seek to gain access to the site, with an intention to damage or disrupt the site.”

In his report, he also outlined the changing nature of the overall national threat assessment, which is used by the Government to indicate the likelihood of a terrorist incident.

He asid: “By September, the threat assessment may have intensified, requiring heightened security precautions.

“At that stage, it may be too late to invoke the relatively lengthy process to exempt these areas of land.

“Therefore, the request for these exemptions is based on a worst case scenario.”

He gave assurances that members of Auchterarder Golf Club would still be able to use the sixth fairway, but only for golfing and not general access over fears “uncontrolled” numbers of people could try to watch the event for free.

The proposals have come under fire, however, from Ramblers Scotland and the Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society.

They claim the core path closures are “unnecessary” and could set an “undesirable precedent”.

Campaigns and policy manager for Ramblers Scotland, Helen Todd said: “We object to the application of the exemption order to the core path across Auchterarder Golf Course.

“Just because any particular location provides a view of adjacent ground on which an interesting event is taking place is not a justification for applying an exemption order.”

 

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