This extraordinary barrier erected across Horse Guards' Parade is happily temporary, while the usual bollards (which can be sunk flush with the road, as in the photograph) are overhauled. But even for a limited period of four months (to April 2011) it represents a pretty hamfisted approach to the problem of securing the rear of Downing Street. The barrier was erected under emergency planning legislation (DCLG Circular 02/2006) which nonetheless requires the relevant local authority and English Heritage to be consulted first. It seems that neither was in this case, and we hope that there is no repeat of that omission if other emergency works are planned, especially if they blight their surroundings as badly as these yellow gates, to which explanatory notices have now been attached just in case anyone else thinks they are permanent. These days one can never be sure.