Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette

Urgent calls for permanent bridge anti-terror measures


- By JOSIAH MORTIMER City Hall Reporter @josiahmort­imer

TEMPORARY defences on London bridges set up in the wake of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack urgently need replacing with permanent measures, London Assembly members have warned.

The current ‘hostile vehicle mitigation measures’ on London’s bridges are “encroachin­g into bus lanes, impacting cyclists, taxis and bus users” despite being intended to be temporary when put in place five years ago.

Transport for London has argued it doesn’t have the funds needed to make the investment. In March 2017, a man drove a car into pedestrian­s on Westminste­r Bridge in London, killing four people and injuring over 40.

After crashing, he fatally stabbed an unarmed police officer in the grounds of the Palace of Westminste­r before being shot dead by police.

Then in June that year, three men used a van to run over pedestrian­s on London Bridge.

After crashing, they began stabbing people in and around venues in nearby Borough Market. Eight people were killed in the attack with 48 injured before the attackers were shot dead by police.

Temporary measures segregatin­g pavements from the roads were introduced on eight central London bridges after the attacks.

In a report on London’s preparedne­ss for a terrorist attack published this March, Lord Toby Harris made clear that problems with replacing the temporary hostile vehicle measures on London’s bridges with permanent ones “should be resolved as swiftly as possible”.

On Thursday September 8 the London Assembly agreed a motion asking Transport for London, the Mayor and the Government to urgently provide funding so that bridges’ temporary anti-terror defences can be made permanent without delay.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, who proposed the motion said: “Hostile vehicle mitigation measures protect lives. Five years after the London Bridge attack, it is ridiculous that the temporary anti-terror measures on London’s bridges have not been permanentl­y installed.

“The current barriers are encroachin­g into bus lanes, impacting cyclists, taxis and bus users.

“They have also caused flooding on Tower Bridge. A swift resolution to the impasse on funding the permanent installati­on of these measures is essential and the petty quibbling over money is risking the lives of Londoners.”

The motion stated: “This Assembly is concerned that Transport for London has paused plans to install permanent hostile vehicle mitigation measures on several central London bridges due to financial constraint­s... Judge Mark Lucraft QC said ‘funding disputes between public bodies would not be a satisfacto­ry reason for delay in the planning and installati­on work’.”

It adds: “This Assembly 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.”

The temporary measures on Tower Bridge have also contribute­d to problems with drainage, which has led to “significan­t” cases of flooding. The motion was agreed unanimousl­y.

 ?? DOMINIC LIPNSKI/PA WIRE ?? Westminste­r bridge in August this year
DOMINIC LIPNSKI/PA WIRE Westminste­r bridge in August this year

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