Evening Standard Comment: Act now to prevent another Hammersmith Bridge farce

·1-min read
 (Alamy Stock Photo)
(Alamy Stock Photo)

Could London Bridge be falling down? An investigation by the London Assembly into the state of the capital’s crossings has found that speed limits and restrictions on vehicle numbers may be required to prevent more bridges from crumbling. The report revealed a £241 million maintenance backlog but no central pot of cash from which to fund repairs. As a result, “bridges will continue to degrade and more will be closed”.

The inquiry was launched following the shutdown of Hammersmith Bridge, which spiralled into an international embarrassment. The saga also exposed a broader weakness in our city — that of the way in which repairs to the capital’s vital infrastructure are funded.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, who chaired the investigation, is right to call for owners and managers of our bridges to come together to fund a long-term financial settlement for Thames crossings. The present system is far too disjointed and incoherent. The result is that no one takes responsibility and it is Londoners who pay the price.

To avoid another farce will require all relevant bodies — including local authorities, City Hall and the Department for Transport — to work together before another bridge is forced to shut.

So long, Salt Bae

So, farwell to Salt Bae. The knife-wielding, golden steak-covering, public relations-masterminding chef is leaving the capital to take his very particular set of skills to a new city.

It was great fun while it lasted, even if most Londoners read about the food rather than ate it.

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Evening Standard Comment: Hope for Hammersmith Bridge, but time to sort it out once and for all

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