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Garden Bridge buck passing

15 October 2019

Key decision-makers involved in all, or part, of the Garden Bridge project have passed the buck consistently since its ill-conceived beginnings in 2012.

A new report today from the London Assembly suggests that all involved, were ultimately responsible for the project’s failure;

  • The former Mayor, Boris Johnson, took an active supporting role, by using the functions of his office to issue Mayoral Decisions that would effectively remove any blocks to development progress.
  • The Garden Bridge Trust were progressively reckless in their decision-making to address their increasingly precarious funding position.
  • Transport for London (TfL) did not use the full extent of its functional and advisory powers to communicate to the Mayor the risks related to project delays and increasing financial mismanagement.

The report ‘Up the Garden Path’ examines:

  • the decision by the Trust to sign a construction contract with a joint venture led by Bouygues Travaux Publics and Cimolai SpA
  • the decision by TfL to approve £7 million funding, when their conditions appear not to have been met in full
  • the extent to which TfL’s governance and internal processes have been improved


Report author, Tom Copley AM, Chair of the Garden Bridge Working Group said;


“The Garden Bridge was an appalling waste of public money and to this day, no one will stand up and say sorry.


“Across all key decision-making organisations, there were consistent failures to adequately, effectively and transparently deal with the escalating risks of the project. It is unacceptable that these risks were being downplayed by Transport for London, in order to fulfil the former Mayor, Boris Johnson’s, pet project.


“The Garden Bridge Trust, who refused to cooperate with our investigation, recklessly signed a construction contract without having secured the land on which to build the bridge, nor the necessary planning consents. That decision alone cost taxpayers £21 million.


“The governance model established to deliver the project was quite clearly not fit-for-purpose, which led to poor decision-making at critical stages.


“Squandering taxpayers’ money on doomed large-scale infrastructure projects is not acceptable and I hope this report goes some way to ensuring that those responsible change their high-handed attitudes and learn from their stupid mistakes.”


Notes to editors

  1. The report is attached
  2. Tom Copley AM, Chair of the Garden Bridge Working Group, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  3. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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