Plan for permanent anti-terror barriers on London bridges may be scrapped over funding problems

Westminster Bridge has permanent security bollards but other key London bridges have temporary structures Credit: PA

Plans to install permanent anti-terror barriers on key London bridges are on hold amid doubts over funding the £35 million work needed to complete the structures.

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed it has paused work on the barriers for landmark bridges across the capital in board papers released ahead of a committee meeting next week.

An inquest into the June 2017 London Bridge terror attack that killed eight people criticised the lack of barriers at the scene and recommended "implementing them promptly".

The barriers, known as Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM), are among several planned projects at sites including London Bridge, Tower Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, that will "not progress" because of "the reduced funding available in 2022/23", the TfL documents confirmed.

The bridges currently have temporary barriers that were put up soon after the London Bridge terror attack in June 2017, where three members of a terror group deliberately rammed a van into pedestrians walking along the bridge.

London Assembly Member for the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee Caroline Pidgeon said that permanent barriers are "vital" and that “proper maintenance of London bridges is being compromised,” the Evening Standard reported.

"Ugly concrete blocks, often eating into bus lanes, are not the long term solution to delivering public safety and the effective use of London’s bridges, especially for cyclists, taxis and bus users," Ms Pidgeon said.

"The temporary measures on Tower Bridge have also contributed to problems with drainage and the bridge becoming seriously flooded last year. Doing nothing is simply kicking this essential safety work into the long grass."

Earlier this year London Mayor Sadiq Khan said progressing the work was "uncertain" due to funding issues. TfL is funding half of the estimated £35 million cost but an agreement needs to be reached between the Department for Transport and the bridges' owners on the remainder.

TfL was left with a £1.9 billion funding gap after the pandemic led to a huge drop in demand for travel.

The company's most recent round of government funding runs out on June 24 and it is seeking a long-term funding plan.