As of next week, my newsletter’s will move from daily to bi-weekly.

From today, face coverings will be mandatory when shopping in England, unless you are covered by an exemption. They are required to be worn in any shops, including food shops and supermarkets, but are not required in hospitality settings, including restaurants with table service, bars, and pubs.
Exemptions include:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • not being able to wear because of a physical or mental illness or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing will cause you severe distress
  • if travelling with someone who relies on lip-reading to communicate
  • in order to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff for identification eg buying alcohol or cigarettes
  • if speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

I would urge everyone to do their best in remembering their face covering when they are going to the shops. It is important we don’t put more pressure on our shop workers or police in having to enforce the new rules.
Also, if you do see someone not wearing a mask, please be mindful that they may be exempt and not purposefully ignoring the rules.
Finally, remember that face coverings aren’t a replacement for the existing social distancing and hygiene measures so keep to 2m apart where possible and regularly wash or sanitise your hands.
That way we can keep ourselves and others safe and keep driving the virus out of our towns.

I am really encouraged to see so many residents get out on their bikes recently vs using their cars or using up capacity on public transport.
One issue many constituents have contacted me about however is that of people cycling on the pavements. This can be particularly dangerous on narrow pathways when pedestrians are trying to social distance.
One concern that might be driving this behaviour is people being scared about cycling on busy roads. I therefore fully support Kingston and Richmond Councils work to improve cycling infrastructure across both boroughs as I hope this will make inexperienced cyclists feel safer on the roads.
If you are someone that is put off cycling on the roads due to safety concerns, another useful resource is TfL’s new online cycle training course for Londoners, giving more people the confidence to start cycling. ​ The course is available online at
In addition to the online modules, they have also secured extra funding for cycle training will be delivered via the London boroughs. Each borough will be allocated £60,000 to deliver socially distanced Bikeability and Cycle Skills training from August onwards.
For more information visit:

Many of us are keen to see work press ahead on the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge. In the last few months, works have been continuing on-site with ongoing inspections, assessment and monitoring of the bridge’s key elements. The concept designs for the permanent and temporary bridges and the detailed design for the stabilisation works have also been completed.
The next stage in the process is to shore up funding for the project. As you are probably aware, TfL’s finances were badly affected by the collapse in ridership on TfL services due to the lockdown, and the Government have had to provide financial support to TfL as a result. This has put funding for large infrastructure projects – particularly those for which there was already a funding shortfall before the pandemic – at risk.
I have been in regular contact with them during this time to press the case for Hammersmith Bridge as a priority project.
Today TfL published their revised budget, and the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge are within ‘Projects Contingent on Additional Funding’. This means that TfL will continue to make the case for the repairs and seek opportunities for additional funding to enable them to progress. I am pleased that the decision was taken not to put the project on pause, which is the case with some other London schemes.
I will work with my counterpart from Hammersmith, the local Councils and TfL in lobbying the Government for the additional funding required to get this project underway. I will also be in touch with local residents on how you can help us make the case to Government for these much-needed repairs.
I know how important this bridge is for constituents from a connectivity and traffic point of view, and I will continue to do everything in my power to get the funding secured and work completed as soon as possible.

Kew Gardens urgently need our help. Having to close during the lockdown lead to the gardens losing £15 million because of reduced visitor numbers which they rely on for vital global conservation and maintaining the gardens.
As a charity, the income Kew receives from donations is vital, counting for a significant proportion of their income.
Therefore, if you’re looking for something for you and the family to do over the summer break, do go and visit the gardens and show your support. Or alternatively you can donate here:
By donating, you’re helping secure the future not only of the gardens we all love, but a global infrastructure of cutting-edge science and conservation work.

Rainbow crossings have been unveiled in Richmond and Kingston as the councils show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
The crossings feature the colours of the internationally recognised Pride Flag which has come to symbolise diversity and pride of the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.


Sarah Olney MP

Earlier updates can be accessed here.