12 security blocks to be built in front of York Minster in anti-terror drive

Twelve security blocks will be installed at the front of York Minster this week to create a barrier against terrorists.

The decision to strengthen security at the front of the Minster was taken by the Chapter of York, the cathedral’s governing body, following recommendations from the Counter Terrorism Unit.

The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Dr Vivienne Faull, said that the national terror threat level has been set at ‘severe’ for several months.

And that they were advised to take “urgent and decisive action to protect the area”.

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A visible deterrent

At risk? York Minster. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Security at the Minster has been under review for some time, Dr Faull revealed.

“The appalling attacks in Manchester and London earlier this year have required all those responsible for the security of nationally important buildings, monuments and public spaces to reassess, review and constantly refine their arrangements for keeping people safe,” she said.

“Chapter has been concerned about the potential vulnerability of the area around the Minster’s West End for some time.”

The Dean added:

The protective barrier will provide a physical defence and will be a visible deterrent at the front of the Minster.

We have a clear duty of care to everyone who visits York Minster and we will do everything we can to ensure that our worshippers and visitors feel safe and secure when they are here.

Substantial barrier

Dean of York Vivienne Faull. Photograph: BBC / Anna Louise Crossley

Approved by the Home Office and tested by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), the 12 blocks will form a substantial barrier.

New flag stones will be cut and set around the edges of each block. The Chapter said no archaeology will be disturbed by the installation.

The blocks are already in use at a number of high profile locations around the country including the Tower of London.

The security barrier is a temporary measure: the blocks “can and will be removed if the security situation improves in the future”.

Although the Dean added: “Some experts within the UK’s security community believe that we are facing a generational problem which may last for 20 or 30 years.”