The construction sites at Battersea Power Station have temporarily closed in response to the latest guidance from the government on the coronavirus crisis.

On Monday (March 23) Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people should not be leaving their homes, other than for essential shopping, to exercise once a day, to travel to work if absolutely necessary, or for any medical need.

This caused debate over whether construction work is “absolutely necessary” after a number of builders and electricians were asked to come into work Wednesday (March 24), including those working on the Battersea Power Station sites.

After the lockdown was announced, health secretary Matt Hancock said that construction work can continue as long as people maintain social distancing – keeping two meters apart at all times.

However, many workers have argued that it is impossible for them to comply with guidance on social distancing and hygiene on building sites.

On Wednesday afternoon (March 24) the Battersea Power Station Development Company, alongside construction managers Mace and St Robert McAlpine, announced the sites would temporarily close for 48 hours.

A spokesperson for the Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) said:

“In the interest of the safety of all those working on the Battersea Power Station site, the decision has been made with our construction managers, Mace and Sir Robert McAlpine, to temporarily close all of our construction sites for 48 hours from this afternoon to ensure we can comply with the current guidance being given by the Government and Public Health England.

“We have over the past few days introduced a significant range of enhanced protective measures.  Any further work required to ensure the site is safe and secure will be the only activity during this period of review.

 “The health, well-being and safety of our workers and the wider community is – and always has been – the top priority for us and our construction managers.

“An update will be provided once the review has concluded or any further decisions are made.”

The historic power station is due to open to the public next year, with the Northern Line London Underground extension also expected to finish in autumn 2021.