An update from Sarah Olney

Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, has posted her latest newsletter on her website, including an update on her actions on the complete closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

She says:

I will continue working on the Hammersmith Bridge situation every day until we get the immediate problem of moving cyclists and pedestrians across the river addressed. I wrote to Baroness Vere at the Department of Transport again today, pointing out that it has been three weeks since the bridge was closed completely and we still have not had an answer from the Department for Transport. I am most disappointed that they do not seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

You can see my letter to Baroness Vere here:

Richmond Council is exploring every option for temporary and/or mitigating measures for our residents, and we are both working with Transport for London on this as well.

The Twickenham & Richmond Liberal Democrats have also launched a petition, asking for "Boris Johnson's Government to provide urgent funding to enable a temporary walking and cycling bridge to be built across the Thames - and to also commit to fully underwriting the cost of the repairs to the main bridge."

It's a shame that the petition calls for two aims. I'd happily call for a temporary walking and cycling bridge; the plans exist, it could be built for a relatively low cost and in a short space of time, and it would provide huge benefits for people on both sides of the bridge.

But it also calls for the government to provide the cost of repairs to the main bridge. It doesn't specify what these would be, but of course, it could mean that the bridge should be repaired to allow cars to cross it once more. If this were done, it would be a huge backward step: the congestion would return to Barnes and the 9,000 crossings of the river that have evaporated since the bridge was closed to cars would simply reappear again.

So I won't be signing the petition. It would be tragic for the whole of London if cars were allowed to cross the bridge again.

Posted on 2nd September 2020

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