Amid the terrorist threat hanging over the world, British counter-terrorism specialists have come up with the idea of sealing off key routes in central London to protect the city’s future skyscrapers, according to the Evening Standard.
The new cordon, dubbed by the daily the “ring of steel” would block Undershaft, St Mary Axe, and Leadenhall Street, at the same time restricting access to a wider zone. “Pre-booking and / or security vetting” is required to gain access, says the article.
The proposal comes as a part of plan to secure several skyscrapers under construction in the Square Mile, according to the Standard. A total of £100,000 ($123,000) has already been raised by Mitsubishi Estate London and AXA Investment Managers, who are behind 40-storey and 62-storey skyscrapers at Bishopsgate respectively. Another contribution will reportedly come from the Trellis Tower project in Undershaft – the 73-storey building is set to become the highest in the City.
Simon Glyn, director of the Built Environment for the City of London Corporation, defended the envisioned security measures.
“The local situation has changed significantly over the past two years with several large-scale redevelopments approved or planned. The scale of these developments requires much greater levels of security than can be delivered on a site-by-site basis and an area-wide solution is recommended,” he said, as cited by Evening Standard.
He added that funding increased security in the Eastern City Cluster, “one of the City’s most crowded places and a significant target for terrorist attack,” is vital.
His words were backed up by the City of London as well.
“We want to maintain the City of London as one of the safest cities in the world… Because of the high density of offices in the eastern cluster it is only right that we re-examine the security plans for this area of the Square Mile,” a City of London spokesman was quoted as saying.
The new proposal is subject to further consultation. If approved, the step-up in security would come into full effect by 2022.
The report comes a couple of days after Berlin’s truck attack perpetrated by Tunisian-born Anis Amri left 12 people dead and dozens others injured. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Police forces across Britain have been reviewing their security plans following the Berlin attack, and the threat level in London has remained ‘severe,’ meaning an attack is very likely to happen, the Metropolitan Police said.
In France, officials have announced a dramatic step-up in security over the holidays, with about 91,000 police officers and soldiers to be deployed across the country during the celebrations.