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Blackfriars Bridge

Andrew McMurtrie asked a question of the Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee regarding Blackfriars Bridge.


Responding, the Chairman noted that Blackfriars Bridge was overdue for re-painting as the City had been investigating problems with the parapet, an issue responsible for the majority of the rust-staining that was evident. These investigations had taken some time due to access restrictions caused by a combination of Thameslink, Cycle Superhighway, and Thames Tideway activities. However, he was pleased to report that the investigations were now complete and that a solution to the parapet issues had been identified. It was expected that works would commence in April 2019 and last two to three years. This was a consequence of the need to co-ordinate works with Thames Tideway and the Port of London Authority, to programme safe navigation and working for span closures, as well as with TfL for highway space and access.


In relation to costs, the Chairman noted that this would be dependent on the various options selected by Members and the outcome of procurement exercises. However, he was happy to provide any interested Member with a copy of the relevant committee report, which provided some detail about potential costings.


Idling Vehicles

Alderman William Russell asked a question of the Chairman of the Port Health and Environmental Services Committee concerning idling vehicles.


Replying, the Chairman outlined the significant activity currently undertaken in respect of idling vehicles, noting that the primary focus was to drive behavioural change to prevent idling from occurring in the first instance. This included, as well as enforcement action, publicity campaigns, leafleting, an on-street presence, and “idling vehicle action days”. Work carried out to prevent vehicle idling also included responding to specific complaints of idling vehicles, placing signs in hotspot areas, writing directly to companies whose drivers were observed leaving engines idling unnecessarily, and working directly with the taxi trade, local businesses and the construction industry to gain their support for no vehicle idling at their sites. Such activity had received wide and positive media coverage, with evidence demonstrating that the campaign was effective and had reduced the number of vehicles with idling engines within the City.


Noting that the London Borough of Southwark had recently introduced an £80 Penalty Charge Notice for idling vehicles, the Chairman cautioned that this was not as simple a solution as it might sound, with Southwark having only been able to issue one notice, which had then been withdrawn on appeal. He added that City Corporation staff were currently authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for unnecessary engine idling; however, due to the wording of the regulations and the statutory guidance in place, these were very difficult to issue. This was an issue for all local authorities, hence the focus on behaviour change in the City.


The Chairman emphasised the importance of this issue and reassured Members that the Port Health and Environmental Services Committee would continue to take a close interest in the matter. Notwithstanding the work undertaken to prevent idling vehicles to date, he would be asking officers to consider whether the current approach continued to be the most effective and what further work might be carried out to enhance the efficacy of the City Corporation’s efforts.


Royal Wedding

James Tumbridge asked a question of the Chief Commoner concerning the forthcoming Royal Marriage.


The Chief Commoner, responding, confirmed that a letter had been sent by his predecessor on behalf of the City Corporation, congratulating the couple on the news of their engagement and sending best wishes in respect of their forthcoming marriage. He took the opportunity to reiterate these good wishes, adding that he was certain that all Members would wish to join with him in sending formally the Court’s very best wishes on the occasion of the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Henry to Meghan Markle.


The Chief Commoner also thanked the Honourable Member for his further suggestion of City Corporation support for an armed services charity, such as Scotty’s Little Soldiers, to mark this occasion. He undertook to take this back for consideration by the Hospitality Working Party as part of its deliberations as to what might be most appropriate.


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