The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has withdrawn its backing for Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed Garden Bridge over the Thames.
The influential organisation, the UK’s largest conservation group with over a million members, had previously been “cautiously” supportive of the controversial crossing.
But the RSPB has now pulled its support, saying “Londoners will not be gaining a new, wildlife rich habitat”.
The RSPB had hoped the 366m-long bridge would link existing wildlife hotspots to the north and south of the river, while including bat boxes and bird nesting sites along the length of the bridge. But it said that these were not included in the Garden Bridge Trust’s current plans.
The organisation added it could find better ways of spending the £175M needed to build the bridge.
An RSPB statement said: “As supporters of green infrastructure in London, the RSPB can suggest much easier and cheaper ways to make life more pleasant for Londoners and urban wildlife.
“£175million could do a lot to boost the way we manage water and waste or generate energy in the capital in ways that would clean our environment and better support some of the 60% of species currently vanishing around us.
“Londoners can collectively add to the capital’s habitats and support much more wildlife than this £175 million bridge ever could.’
The bridge, which will span the Thames between Temple and the South Bank, was given the go-ahead by London Mayor Boris Johnson late last year after receiving permission from both Westminster and Lambeth Councils.
Three contractors have been shortlisted to build the structure by project promoter the Garden Bridge Trust. Work could begin in December this year (2015) with the bridge opening to the public in 2018.