Planned Thames road tunnel “not green enough”


Pic: Policy Exchange, Flickr

Campaigners have attacked Sadiq Khan’s decision to give the green light to a new road tunnel under the Thames  in east London– which he is hoping to open in 2023 to help tackle increasing congestion and pollution.

They say the proposed £1bn tunnel – to be built under Silvertown, connecting the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks – is not green enough and that residents of east London would pay the price in pollution.

The new tunnel is supposed to ease congestion at its sister tunnel, Blackwall. “Congestion and air quality around the Blackwall Tunnel is predicted to get worse in the coming years as London’s population grows”, the Mayor said.

Plans for the new tunnel to be built under Silvertown have divided public opinion. The Green party Councillor Caroline Russell of Highbury, Islington told East London Lines: “East London is already one of the most polluted parts of the capital so the Mayor should be providing residents with choices to cross the river by public transport, on foot or by bike rather than leaving them with little choice but to add to congestion and pollution by using a car.”

Protesting campaigning organisation No to Silvertown Tunnel (NTST) have been challenging the proposal as they believe it is not helping the congestion or pollution situation:

“He [Mayor] talks a good talk about fighting pollution and congestion in central London, but it seems people in east and south-east London do not matter as much”.

The Chief Executive of London Cyclist Campaigning, Ashok Sinha, reviewed the proposal plan to make Silvertown ‘greener’, and informed ELL: “The plans have not changed radically enough to make them ‘green’ or good for London. Instead they are likely to result in more congestion and pollution.”

There is to be a public preliminary planning meeting on October 11 at the Excel Centre to examine the proposal for the tunnel held by Lead Member of the Panel Examination, Peter Robottom.

“The planning inquiry begins next week and we will be there to argue against the tunnel. Lewisham and Hackney councils oppose it, so this isn’t anywhere near a done deal. The campaign continues.” NTST advised.

The meeting starts at 10.00am, and seating is available from 09.30am.

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