The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has withdrawn its backing for Thomas Heatherwick’s controversial Garden Bridge over the Thames
The charity, which had previously been ‘cautiously’ supportive of the Joanna Lumley-masterminded proposals, has said that ‘Londoners will not be gaining a new, wildlife rich habitat’ and, as a result, has pulled its support.
The RSPB had hoped the 366m-long bridge would link existing wildlife hotspots to the north and south of the river, while including bat boxes and bird nesting sites along the length of the bridge. But the charity said that these were not included in the Garden Bridge Trust’s current plans.
The RSPB added that it could find better ways of spending the £175million needed to build the bridge.
It said in a statement: ‘As supporters of green infrastructure in London, the RSPB can suggest much easier and cheaper ways to make life more pleasant for Londoners and urban wildlife.
‘£175million could do a lot to boost the way we manage water and waste or generate energy in the capital in ways that would clean our environment and better support some of the 60% of species currently vanishing around us.
‘Londoners can collectively add to the capital’s habitats and support much more wildlife than this £175 million bridge ever could.’
The planted bridge, which will span the Thames between Temple and the South Bank, was given the go-ahead by London Mayor Boris Johnson late last year having already received permission from both Westminster and Lambeth Councils.
The Garden Bridge Trust has suggested that work on the project could begin in December this year (2015) with the bridge set to open to the public in 2018.