York Minster responds to terrorism threat

York Minster will become the first cathedral in the UK to instal security blocks.Reuters

York Minster has become the first cathedral in the UK to install security blocks aimed at stopping terrorist attacks, following advice from the Counter Terrorism Unit.

Work will begin this week to install 12 of the blocks, which are designed to defend against attacks of the sort seen at Nice in France, where an attacker drove a truck into victims last year.

The Dean of York, Dr Vivienne Faull, said: 'Chapter has been concerned about the potential vulnerability of the area around the Minster's West End for some time.

'The clear recommendation from the Counter Terrorism Unit required us to take urgent and decisive action to protect the area.

'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.'

The blocks, which can be removed if the security situation improves, are similar in style to those currently used by the Tower of London.

York Minster has its own police force with the power of arrest after eight constables and the cathedral's head of security were sworn in in May.

The present building was built over about a period of around 250 years between 1220 and 1472 although a large Roman building stood on the site and a wooden Anglo-Saxon church was built there by 627, according to the BBC.

Earlier this year the Dean of Westminster revealed that police had recommended that stronger security should be put in place at Westminster Abbey.

However, the Dean said that after seeking further advice the Abbey 'concluded that it would be wrong to undertake the measures we see around the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall that would turn the Abbey into a fortress'.