London Assembly to debate anti-terror barriers on Thames bridges

This week the London Assembly will debate a motion calling for an urgent resolution to the current impasse on the installation of permanent anti-terrorism measures on Thames bridges, five years on from the London Bridge attack.

London Assembly to debate anti-terror barriers on Thames bridges

In May this website was the first to report that Transport for London had halted plans to replace the temporary concrete 'hostile vehicle mitigation' measures – placed on on central London bridges in the immediate aftermath of the June 2017 terrorist attack – with permanent barriers.

In 2020 Transport for London put the cost of installing permanent protective measures on the Thames bridges at £35 million.

In 2019 the then chief coroner – His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft – published a prevention of future deaths report arising from the inquest into the deaths of the London Bridge terror attack victims.

He wrote at that time: "...I expect the relevant public authorities to make every effort to progress the installation of permanent measures on the London bridges.

"Funding disputes between public bodies would not be a satisfactory reason for delay in the planning and installation work."

But with no funding in place for permanent measures, Liberal Democrat London Assembly members Caroline Pidgeon and Hika Bokhari have tabled a motion to be debated at City Hall this Thursday.

Their motion "calls on Transport for London, the Mayor of London and the Government to urgently work together to ensure funding is made available so that the previously planned permanent hostile vehicle mitigation measures can be completed without delay”.

The motion also "recognises that the current hostile vehicle mitigation measures on these bridges were intended to be temporary and will reach the end of their life if permanent measures are not installed swiftly.

"The temporary measures currently in place are encroaching into bus lanes, impacting cyclists, taxis and bus users."

It remains to be seen whether the motion will attract the support of Labour, Green and Conservative Assembly members.

In June, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Transport for London (TfL) will complete the work to install measures on Westminster bridge, but due to its current funding constraints, is unable to further progress permanent measures on other central London bridges at present. The current barriers will remain in place and continue to provide protection from the risk of a vehicle attack.

"The design and development work that has been undertaken to date remains ready to be progressed when the financial position changes.

"Through the London CONTEST Board, I will continue the work initiated by TfL to engage with the Homeland Security Group in the Home Office and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to progress the clear recommendation from Lord Harris’ review that 'given the national significance of some of the bridges in question, it is appropriate that central Government step up in support. The Cabinet Office and HM Treasury should work with City Hall to rapidly identify and allocate adequate funding to allow the necessary works replacing temporary with permanent structures to begin'."

Tags: River Thames, Greater London Authority, Politics & local government, Transport

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