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Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 17:15 GMT
Hogmanay storm call-offs defended
Covers are blown off stands at the main music stage in Edinburgh
Covers are blown off stands at the main music stage in Edinburgh
Organisers of Scotland's biggest Hogmanay celebrations have insisted they were right to cancel them amid safety concerns due to bad weather.

Glasgow called off its event on Sunday afternoon while Edinburgh's festivities were cancelled at the eleventh hour.

The party at Stirling Castle was also affected by high winds which battered the central belt.

However, events in cities including Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness were not disrupted.

The spectacular Stonehaven Fireballs Ceremony also went ahead in Aberdeenshire but a party at the Renfrew Ferry on the Clyde had to be abandoned when a gangplank collapsed.

Driving rain, with gusts of more than 70mph, forced the organisers of the Glasgow event to announce the cancellation of festivities in George Square, which had been scheduled to attract 25,000 people.

I recognise the disappointment that this will cause for many people, particularly those who enjoyed other Hogmanay events over the past two days
Andrew Holmes
Edinburgh City Council

Police urged revellers to stay away and following the cancellation of the event at 1630 GMT, council staff were evacuated after debris from adjacent buildings surrounding the square was dislodged and blown into the event area.

Stirling Council announced that its celebrations at the castle had fallen victim to the weather but proceeded with a small fireworks display to see in the New Year.

For the organisers of the Edinburgh event, which draws in 100,000 international revellers every year, it was a bitter repeat of events three years ago when atrocious weather led to the cancellation of celebrations.

Despite earlier voicing confidence that the 2006 event would go ahead, the plug was pulled at 2030 GMT.

Barriers in Edinburgh
Crowd barriers are blown to the ground in Edinburgh

Andrew Holmes, director of city development for Edinburgh City Council said: "Although we were confident throughout the day that Edinburgh's Hogmanay could take place, the weather conditions and forecast deteriorated significantly in the course of the evening, leaving us no option but to cancel the Royal Bank Street Party.

"This decision was not taken lightly. However, public safety concerns were the most important factor in coming to this conclusion.

"I recognise the disappointment that this will cause for many people, particularly those who enjoyed other Hogmanay events over the past two days."

"Obviously we are massively disappointed," said Pete Irvine, Director of Unique Events.

"It would be hard to describe how much work goes into this event and there is a huge team of people feeling very sad and deflated, but we will live to fight and entertain the world another day."

Text messaging

Organisers said they would learn lessons from the event and there was a mixture of good-natured resignation, frustration and disappointment among revellers.

Many had registered for a police text messaging service which was designed to relay important safety information.

Alan Jackson, from Edinburgh, said: "Yet another cancellation for Edinburgh. What a fiasco. Surely they could have followed Glasgow and given more warning."

Revellers in Glasgow missed out on seeing The Fratellis and Sandi Thom, while Neil Tennant of Edinburgh headliners the Pet Shop Boys expressed his sadness at the cancellation in the capital.

Revellers in Aberdeen
Ann-Marie Honey and Susan Casey at the Aberdeen event

He said: "The Pet Shop Boys are very disappointed that the Edinburgh New Year's celebrations have been cancelled because of high winds and the danger of people getting injured.

"We are sorry for everyone who has travelled to see us and also for the organisers who have spent months putting together what should have been one amazing night."

Officials in Glasgow and Edinburgh said it would take some time to count the cost of the cancellations.

However, there were celebrations elsewhere. Revellers in Aberdeen enjoyed pop veterans Wet Wet Wet, Dundee hosted a series of events organised by voluntary groups and children were treated to the annual Family Fireworks display in Inverness.

Further events did go ahead in the capital on Monday, including outdoor activities at Holyrood Park.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See the reaction of revellers



SEE ALSO
Call for safety at street party
31 Dec 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Edinburgh confident for Hogmanay
29 Dec 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Police to text Hogmanay revellers
12 Oct 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Capital New Year tickets on sale
07 Oct 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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