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London finally gets a Garden Bridge – and cyclists (and skateboarders) are most welcome as Extinction Rebellion take over Waterloo Bridge

Climate change activists take over key locations in capital (without spending £43m of our money)

The Garden Bridge project green-lighted by former Mayor of London Boris Johnson may be dead in the water, but today central London has a rather different version of it thanks to Extinction Rebellion climate change activists, and unlike the original version, cyclists are more than welcome.

As part of a global week of action urging governments around the world to tackle global warming before it is too late, campaigners have taken over Waterloo Bridge and several other strategic points around the capital including Oxford Circus.

Currently, the Thames crossing is adorned by a variety of foliage and even a half-pipe – fitting when you consider that its southern end on the South Bank sits above what many consider to be the cradle of the London skateboarding scene.

Extinction Rebellion Garden Bridge 2 (picture credit Caspar Hughes)

The Garden Bridge, intended to span the Thames from between Waterloo Bridge and the Millennium Bridge, but as a private initiative would have been closed from midnight to 6am each day and several times a year for private functions, and from which cyclists would have been banned, had been championed by the actor Joanna Lumley.

It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, whose proposal was chosen by Johnson despite a less-than-transparent tender process.

In August 2017, the Garden Bridge Trust announced it was ending the project, which by that point had cost £53 million including £43 million of public money, despite never getting beyond the design and planning stage.

Today’s takeover by Extinction Rebellion of a number of public spaces in London, including Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, as part of a global week of action to raise awareness of climate change.

Extinction Rebellion Garden Bridge 3 (picture credit Caspar Hughes)

Find out more about Extinction Rebellion here – in the meantime, enjoy the fact that after Hammersmith Bridge was closed to motor vehicles last week due to austerity measures meaning there is no money to carry out essential repairs, there is a second Thames crossing that is now the domain of people on bikes and foot.

And skateboards, of course.

All pictures courtesy Caspar Hughes.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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