Government commits to pay share of cost in TfL funding deal
Fleur Anderson in front of Hammersmith Bridge when it was completely shut
Fleur Anderson, the MP for Putney, has welcomed the news that a commitment to reopen Hammersmith Bridge to vehicles was included in the transport deal reached between the Government and Transport for London on Tuesday 30 August.
Although a letter from the Department for Transport (DfT) states the funding is ’dependent on cost’ it is thought that this caveat is to limit its exposure to any over-budget expenditure. Whilst details are not clear on the amount of funding or timescale for the bridge’s reopening, TfL shared an update that the agreement ‘confirms we will work in partnership with the DfT and London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to reopen Hammersmith Bridge’.
Fleur Anderson MP for Putney said, “I am delighted that after 3 years of campaigning, we have won this commitment from the Government. However, we’re not over the line yet. I will continue campaigning for the bridge to reopen fully, and for it to remain free for all to use.
I would like to thank the thousands of local people who have supported my campaign, and who have campaigned alongside me on this issue. The closure of Hammersmith Bridge to vehicles has caused huge suffering in our community in Putney – we face daily congestion, pollution and increased danger on our roads. Between 500 and 4000 extra vehicles have poured through our area each day.
“I have presented a petition in Parliament with over 1300 signatures, held a Hammersmith Bridge action day, written to all the key decision makers numerous times, brought together all our river clubs and spoken in Parliament on the future of the bridge 20 times. It’s a relief to finally feel we are getting somewhere.”
She is now calling for residents to sign her new petition to keep the bridge free for all to cross.
Hammersmith Bridge was closed in August 2020 when cracks were found in its cast-iron pedestals. The bridge reopened to pedestrians and cyclists in July 2021, but has remained closed to vehicles, forcing cars, vans and lorries to seek alternative routes through Putney.
Ms Anderson added, “My focus now is on when we can expect to see action, and that the bridge remains free for all users, without tolls.”
The funding deal agreed between the Government and Transport for London comes after months of negotiations. TfL have argued that they are being punished because of the impact of Covid-19 on London’s transport services.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said, “This funding agreement comes after more than a month of tough negotiations because I’ve been determined to stand up for London and to fight for our transport network, which so many Londoners and businesses rely upon.
“The good news is that we have managed to win a number of key concessions from the Government, which mean we will be able to avoid TfL having to make the devastating cuts to vital transport services previously proposed – moving us away from the managed decline of London’s transport network.
“However, I want to be frank with Londoners – this deal is far from ideal. The Government is still leaving TfL with a significant funding gap, meaning we will likely have to increase fares in the future and still proceed with some cuts to bus services.”
The Government agreement has left TfL with a target for further savings of around £90m in 2022-2023 and £140m in 2023 and 2024, beyond the £730m per annum recurring savings programme to which TfL was already committed.
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September 2, 2022