On October 16th, 2013 the “No to Silvertown Tunnel” campaign held a public meeting at The Forum in Greenwich to announce the results of our NO2 air pollution monitoring experiment. The following post features transcripts, slides and video from that meeting.
Chris Taylor: Many thanks to everybody for bearing with us so far. I hope you’ve still got your questions stored up.
First of all, we’d like to introduce Andrew Wood from Clean Air UK, the Network for Clean Air. He has given our campaign valuable support and guidance.
Andrew Wood, Clean Air UK – Network for Clean Air
Thank you, and good evening.
My name is Andrew Wood, and I work with Network for Clean Air. We network people and communities for better air quality and less air pollution. Last year we organised a conference: ‘Cities for Clean Air: London 2012’ – immediately prior to the London Olympics, and this year we organised a programme of citizen science – both in London and elsewhere.
There were three groups that were part of the London programme: No to Silvertown Tunnel (Greenwich) – which you heard about earlier, Stop City Airport in Newham, and Friends of the Earth who surveyed the area around Gallions Reach in Newham. For the London programme we provided: over £1,000 worth of materials and equipment, staff time, information, co-ordination and assistance in whatever way was necessary for the three projects to complete successfully – which they all have. A couple of weeks ago, the results for Newham were presented at City Hall; this evening we heard the results for Greenwich.
The Greenwich citizen science project is particularly inspiring because it genuinely engaged the community. There were 13 volunteers – 10 from Greenwich, 2 from Bexley and one from Lewisham. This is very good indicator of an active and vibrant civil society – exactly what is needed to stop the proposed Silvertown Tunnel. It wouldn’t be the first time a traffic crossing of the Thames was turned around. The Thames Gateway Bridge was canceled by Boris Johnson after a strong public campaign and defeat at public inquiry. Other road schemes have been stopped by residents – for example, the Salisbury Bypass.
Clearly, the Silvertown Tunnel is more than a local road scheme – it’s already designated a national infrastructure project, and it would expand the present crossing from 4 to 8 lanes – a motorway. That will bring traffic blight to Greenwich and neighboring boroughs. It thelonger term it could see a motorway corridor spanning the capital – which would be a complete disaster for London.
There are a whole set of measures which are needed at a regional level to tackle traffic: congestion charging, a workplace parking levy for example or similar demand management measures as they’re known. We also need to put in place infrastructure for a healthy city. We need to engineer health into London. That means for example, a dedicated cycle and pedestrian bridge spanning the Thames at Greenwich. What provision is there, at the moment for cycling? None. We need to make space for cycling. That retains the things which make Greenwich special, and promotes levels exercise – as part of our everyday lives – which are needed to maintain a healthy population.
I would urge you, if you live in Greenwich, Newham ,Lewisham, Tower Hamlets or elsewhere, to join with No to Silvertown Tunnel and articulate your voices – because that way, you will be heard and this motorway crossing will be stopped.
“No to Silvertown Tunnel” would like to thank Andrew Wood and the Network for Clean Air for taking the time to come to Greenwich this evening, and for the invaluable support he has given our citizen science monitoring project.
Our seventh, and final, post will feature the remainder of the meeting with the public Q&A session.