No movement from the Government on funding the full reopening of Hammersmith Bridge as Jacob Rees-Mogg blames ‘socialist Mayor & Council’ for failure to agree a plan.
Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, yesterday (22nd July) asked Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Leader of the House of Commons, about funding for the full reopening of Hammersmith Bridge.
It was recently announced that the bridge would reopen for cyclists and pedestrians. This is great news, but it does nothing to ease congestion across SW London resulting from the closure of the bridge more than two years ago.
There are an additional 500 to 4,000 extra vehicles going through Putney every day since the closure of the bridge. Putney High Street is one of the most polluted streets in the country and air quality is a huge issue for local residents.
Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, asked:
I have asked the Leader of the House this question before, but I will ask it again. Hammersmith bridge is still closed to vehicles, which is pouring between 500 and 4,000 extra vehicles a day into Putney, increasing congestion and air pollution. The £141 million bill to restore that historic suspension bridge is unaffordable for Hammersmith and Fulham Council and unaffordable for Transport for London; only the Government can now fund it. Will the Leader of the House make Government time available to debate the ownership and funding of all London’s bridges, so that we can get the capital city moving again?
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House, replied:
The hon. Lady is right to campaign for this, but wrong to focus on the Government. The Conservative candidate, Shaun Bailey, had a proposal for dealing with it really quickly and getting on with things, had he been elected. Unfortunately, a socialist Mayor and a socialist council cannot run a whelk stall, let alone keep bridges open.
Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, said:
“Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to vehicles for more than two years now and there is still no end in sight.
“The closure of the bridge has brought an additional 500 to 4000 cars through Putney each day and my constituents are breathing increasingly toxic air as a result.
“I am sick of this Government playing party political games with an issue that is affecting so many people’s lives.
“What Jacob Rees-Mogg said to the people of London today is that the Government do not care about your problems because you had the cheek to not vote Conservative.
“And that they value a good soundbite about socialism or a humorous comment about whelks more than they care about the air you breathe or the difficulty you have in getting to work or getting your children to school.
“I don’t want more bluster or jibes – we’re not in a debating society. This is real life and I want a solution to this problem now.”