Happy New Year.

This week we heard news that the cost of repairing the bridge has now spiralled to £250 million. When the bridge was first closed in 2019, the costs were estimated to be £40 million. By 2021, the cost of the council’s proposed solution had grown to £141 million. Now, nearly five years on, the costs have increased more than sixfold.

You can find more information in this front-page article in the Evening Standard here as well as the editor’s comment piece.

As I have said in this article, the Government could and should have sorted this earlier before costs and inflation spiralled. Hammersmith and Fulham Council made clear from the outset that they did not have the required funds. Through protracted talks, the Government, the Council and Transport for London agreed to pay one third of the project each, however the Government has still not approved the funding for the repairs. I have repeatedly joined with other MPs in asking the Government to step up and fund the bridge.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council submitted a Business Case to the Department for Transport in December 2022 and is still waiting approval for the works to go ahead, leaving all parties in gridlock. Why the delay?

Political football is being played with our bridge. In 2019 the Conservative Government said that they would fund a temporary bridge if there was a Conservative Mayor and provide the much-needed funding for repair works. Since a Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, was re-elected, this pledge has been withdrawn. This is delaying repair works due to them not stumping up their third of the costs.

This almost 5-year delay is a source of national embarrassment. As I said in the debate I called in Parliament, would Brooklyn Bridge, or any other bridge in any other capital city, be allowed to remain closed to all vehicles for years and years on end?  Repairing the historic and iconic Hammersmith Bridge should be a national priority for the Government, but instead this is another issue where they have chosen to kick the can down the road.

I am also meeting with the Deputy Mayor of London Seb Dance again soon to discuss Hammersmith Bridge and will keep pushing for movement on this. I will also discuss the results from my consultation with him – thank you for submitting your views. This is the last chance to submit your views on how the bridge closure has impacted you: please see the consultation link here.

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