Published on February 22, 2014 | by ALN News Team

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Lord Smith’s car ‘impaled’ on LCC car park bollard

Lord Smith’s Fiat 500 was “impaled” when a rising bollard in LCC car park came up underneath it [Benjamin Bishop]

The government’s Environment Agency boss Chris Smith, pilloried for being slow to react to the flooding crisis in Somerset, found his reactions challenged again, when his car was impaled on a pair of automatic crash bollards while on a lecturing visit to the London College of Communication.

Lord Smith of Finsbury, who has had a long association with the college from the days when he was the Creative Industries ‘Czar’, was driving into the college in his white Fiat 500 on Tuesday morning to give a guest talk in the Industry Speakers series, organised by the Media and Cultural Studies department, when the accident happened.

“As he was waiting at the gates of the car park for the new £29,000 automatic barriers to lower to allow access, a cyclist slipped through and triggered the bollards to come up again, right under Chris’s car,” explained Steve Cross, course director of BA Media and Cultural Studies.

“I suppose he could have been impaled,” he added.

Unhurt

Although Lord Smith was unhurt, a recovery lorry had to be called in by the LCC’s estates office to lift the stricken car, which was a write-off, off the bollards. “He came to talk about the environment, and we wrote off his car,” joked a witness.

Cross, stressing that Lord Smith was “a well-loved friend of the college”, admitted that the incident had “a certain air of Carry On about it”.

Another lecturer said the barriers were “a bloody nuisance. It’s happened before when a bicycle comes through. Because it reads metal, the barrier comes up again – even if there’s a car waiting in the entrance. Why don’t they put a notice up?”

The former culture secretary was said to be “pretty good natured” about his ordeal and told ALN that “it was now simply a matter for his insurance company to resolve”.

The £90,983 chair of the Environment Agency was recently called “a git” by Bridgwater Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainge for not visiting recently flooded areas sooner. He has resisted calls to resign and says he is now a “punchbag”.

 

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