The Mayor announced plans to build a floating 12 metre wide river walk along the north bank of the river Thames between Blackfriars and the Tower of London in time for the Olympics next year.
Murad’s letter highlights three major navigational concerns:
1. It seeks reassurance that the navigational channel will not be intruded upon so as to allow two-way traffic along the river and the free movement of vessels during refurbishment works on the bridge arches.
2. Murad asks for confirmation that the structure of the walk way will be robust enough to withstand vessel impact in the event that a ship’s engine or steering fails and
3. It requests safeguarding of the barge access between Southwark Bridge and Cannon Street as well as the emergency lay-by moorings.
Murad said “I have been contacted by a number of people who have considered the Mayor’s plans and who have serious concerns about whether this idea has been thought through properly, I would have liked the Mayor’s assurances that the walkway will be sensitive to the existing river functions and most importantly whether a safety assessment has been carried out, however, he simply responded by saying that “the [City of London] Corporation will determine the application in due course” with reference to a “…..range of supporting documents”. Unfortunately, the Mayor was not able to reassure me and the many others who have serious concerns about the safety logistics of this plan.
Murad’s letter followed a question which he put to the Mayor in June asking whether navigational concerns would be taken into account. The Mayor’s response was again vague and therefore prompted Murad to seek further clarification. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s response failed to do this and therefore Murad has urged planners to place these concerns at the fore of their considerations.
Since writing to the Mayor, a major recycling waste management and energy recovery company have also written to the Department of Planning and Transportation expressing a number of similar concerns.
Murad Qureshi is Chair of the London Waterways Commission and also the London Assembly Environment Committee
For further information please contact Nikki Salih, PA to Murad Qureshi, on 020 7983 4400