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Big Ben: Lifts

Question for House of Commons Commission

UIN 127545, tabled on 9 December 2020

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what progress has been made on the installation of a lift inside Elizabeth Tower.

Answered on

14 December 2020

A lift is being installed in the Elizabeth Tower as part of the Elizabeth Tower refurbishment project. The majority of the lift infrastructure has now been installed and is currently being tested and commissioned by the contractor.

At present there is only a single spiral staircase with 334 steps. The lift is being installed into an existing ventilation shaft to improve safety and to help reduce the time it would take to evacuate a person from the Tower in the event of a medical emergency. The lift will also improve both security and access to the Great Clock for maintenance purposes.

The maximum size of the lift is constrained by the Tower’s original design. The restricted dimensions of the ventilation shaft mean that it is not possible to install a lift that is fully compliant with the relevant legislation. In the New Year teams from across the House will be evaluating how to improve disabled access to the Elizabeth Tower. This work will include exploring how visitors with different access requirements can find out more about the Elizabeth Tower and learn about its history. Making sure as many people as possible are able to learn about and visit the Tower is a key objective.

Answered by

House of Commons Commission
Named day
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