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Richmond Park Newsletter: August 21

NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES RISING AGAIN


I was concerned to learn this morning that community transmissions of Covid-19 have risen sharply this month following further easing of lockdown. I believe that the only way to keep us from experiencing a second wave of the virus, and potentially having another lockdown, is for everyone to be scrupulous in observing guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.


Please wear a mask whenever you are in an enclosed public space.


It is compulsory for shoppers to wear masks in stores, so please don't leave home without your mask. If you have any sort of job where you are in physical contact with the public, I ask you to please wear a mask even if the law says you don't have to. If you manage a retail business, please consider requiring all employees who can wear a mask to do so. This will help encourage compliance among customers too.


Frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distance and avoiding touching surfaces all remain important habits too. We must not let the reopening of Britain make us complacent about infection control. Until we have a vaccine the virus remains active in our community.



HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE


Hundreds of Barnes residents came to the bridge yesterday to talk about how important the bridge is and how their lives are impacted by its closure. They are rightly demanding action, and I fully agree with them that the Government needs to make this a priority. I was, therefore, very disappointed to be told that Baroness Vere from the Department for Transport is unavailable to meet with me to discuss Hammersmith Bridge.


Hammersmith Bridge is a vital north-south link across the River Thames. Its sudden closure to all users, following the discovery of more cracks in the pedestals, has come as a massive blow to communities on both sides of the river.


Plans for both a temporary bridge and the existing bridge repairs have been approved and we are just waiting for the Government to allocate funds to move both projects forward. This situation is urgent and the Government need to review its position immediately.


If you have not already done so, please sign our petition calling on the Government to provide urgent funding for a temporary walking and cycling bridge and to also commit to fully underwriting the cost of the repairs to the main bridge.

https://www.trlibdems.org.uk/hammersmithbridgepetition


In the run up to last year's General Election the Secretary of State for Transport - Grant Shapps MP, visited the bridge and promised that if a Conservative Government was elected they would fund a temporary bridge and work with all parties to fix the main bridge. Eight months later there is still no funding available. The petition calls on the Government to honour the promise they made to the people of southwest London.


CALLING FOR A FREEZE ON RAIL FARES


In response to last week's announcement of fare increases, and as Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, I am calling for a freeze on rail fares across the country. Our railways are vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and cut air pollution. Rather than putting off commuters with another price hike, I believe the Government must help the industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis without pushing additional costs onto passengers. This is particularly important for my constituents as London's transport network is already far more expensive for passengers than any other major capital's transit system.


TRANSPORT FOR LONDON NEWS


Transport for London (TfL) has written to me to tell me that they have been working hard to get ready for the return of school children next month. They are encouraging parents to take or send children to school on foot or on two wheels if possible, and are working with the GLA to make the streets safer for them to do so.


Where children must travel by public transport, please remember that free travel for under-18s has been discontinued by the Government as part of their financial package for TfL.


Other key points:

  • If your child must use public transport to go to school, you can check how busy any station is on the TfL network at any time or day using their online tool or the TfL Go app. Those who can are advised to travel off-peak during the quiet times.

  • Adults and children over 11 must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose for their entire journey, unless they are exempt.

  • Please maintain social distancing from other passengers and allow extra time.

  • TfL will be running additional buses and dedicated school services.

  • TfL will be trialling 24 hour bus lanes on its own roads.

  • TfL has a free Cycle Skills course available here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cycle-skills#on-this-page-0

COMMUTERS PLEASE NOTE: TfL will be dedicating a number of buses for school travel only on high-frequency routes. During peak school journey time every second bus may be reserved for pupils only. These buses will be permitted to carry a larger number of passengers than the regular service, and will therefore not be available for non-pupil riders. Commuters are advised to leave extra time for their journeys as they may have to wait for a bus they can travel on. These services will be clearly signed, and information will be posted at bus stops and online.



RICHMOND NEWS


UPDATE FROM HEATHROW ON RUNWAY USE

A number of residents have written to me about continuous flight path use recently. I wrote to Heathrow Airport about it and have received this reply: