Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge funding cut

The UK government has pledged to continue financial support for Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge over the River Thames in London, but has reduced its financial guarantee from $19 million to $12 million.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has extended the offer to underwrite funding for the $243 million project.

The original government guarantee had been due to expire next month. The Garden Bridge Trust – the non-profit organisation behind the project – had only asked for a year’s extension.

Speaking on Grayling’s behalf, transport minister Lord Ahmad said: “The government wishes the exciting and innovative Garden Bridge project every success and has provided public funding to help get it off the ground.

“The taxpayer must not be exposed to any further risk and it is now for the trust to find private sector backers to invest in the delivery of this iconic project.”

Conceived as a “beautiful new garden floating above the River Thames”, the 367m Garden Bridge is set to be constructed between Temple and the South Bank, and will feature full-size trees and planted sections along its deck, with a “super-strength” copper-nickel skin covering the structure’s underside and legs.