In a joint letter to the Army and Secretary of State for Defence, the Chair of Richmond Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee and local MP, have asked for military assistance evaluating and potentially deploying an emergency temporary bridge linking Barnes and Hammersmith.
Cllr Alexander Ehmann and Sarah Olney MP have written to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), to ask if their expertise in installing bridges overseas could be utilised in identifying a short-term remedy to the impact of the Hammersmith Bridge closure.
The letter states:
Earlier this month, Hammersmith and Fulham Council announced that their Bridge would be closed to all members of the public, including pedestrians and cyclists, due to growing safety concerns.
At the same time, both councils called on the Government to urgently commit to funding the restoration project and temporary bridge, after outline commitments were made prior to the Pandemic. As of today (25 August), this funding has failed to appear.
Cllr Ehmann, said:
“This is now critical. Without urgent funding, the Government is effectively blocking part of West London off from the Capital. Last week we saw hundreds of people protest at the bridge, urging the Government to put their hands in their pockets. The Government must listen.
“Whilst responsibility for the bridge does not lie with Richmond Council, we will explore every avenue that could offer some assistance to residents. We have already said we will waive our fees for the Planning process for a temporary bridge and are working with Hammersmith and Fulham Council to see whether ferry services might provide a short-term solution. We are doing absolutely everything we can. Which is more than can be said for the Department for Transport. That’s why we’ve taken the highly unusual step of asking for emergency support from the Army. We need someone to step up”
– from a Richmond Council press release - 24 August 2020