London plans to build a £5 million ‘Ring Of Steel’ to protect the city’s highest skyscrapers from a terrorist attack. City officials plan to protect buildings in the financial district with a series of manned checkpoints, rising street bollards, restricted roads, and crash-proof barricades. Counter-terror specialists hope to implement the measures by 2022.
This isn’t the first time the city has been forced to implement a ‘ring of steel.’ IRA attacks on the Baltic Exchange in 1992 and Bishopsgate in 1993 prompted the original ‘ring of steel’ to be put into effect until the IRA ceasefire of 1994.
Initial studies to determine what deterrents are necessary are being funded by a “terrorism tax.” Developers seeking to build new skyscrapers in the city must pay a fee of £50,000 as a part of their planning approval deals. Some companies, such as Mitsubishi Estate London and AXA Investment Managers, have already contributed £100,000 in funding for scrapers planned for Bishopsgate.
City officials were forced to institute the “terrorism tax” after a proposal to fund anti-terror security through voluntary donations fell flat after the 2009 economic crash.
The concept of safety through preparation that is embodied by the ‘ring of steel’ has even permeated the design process of the buildings. Eric Parry Architects, a company designing a Trellis planned for London, stated that the threat of a terrorist attack was factored into the design of the building. He told reporters:
“To protect this iconic building and maintain its presence and reputation it is imperative that security solutions are sustainable, resilient and cost-effective.”