Sadiq Khan’s ‘greener’ Silvertown Tunnel is a betrayal, campaigners say

A new tunnel feeding into this A102 southbound queue can only make congestion and pollution worse.

A new tunnel feeding into this A102 southbound queue can only make congestion and pollution worse.

Sadiq Khan’s backing for the Silvertown Tunnel is a betrayal of those who voted for him believing he would clean up London’s air, campaigners said today.

The London mayor has announced he will support the £1bn project to create a new road tunnel between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Dock, after distancing himself from the scheme while running for election.

The tunnel proposals are currently at the planning stage, with the first stage of the inquiry due to begin next week.

Opponents of the tunnel include Lewisham and Hackney councils, while two of the Greenwich Peninsula’s biggest landowners – Knight Dragon and O2 operators AEG – have submitted detailed objections to the planning inquiry.

“For Sadiq Khan to call this a ‘greener Silvertown Tunnel’ hides the fact that Greenwich and the Royal Docks would be a dumping ground for the south of England’s congestion and pollution,” No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Anne Robbins says.

“He talks a good game when it comes to pollution and congestion in central London, but communities in east and south east London clearly don’t seem to matter as much. They will be living with even worse traffic and poorer air.”

“Khan promised a full review of the tunnel, but has made no attempt to reach out to those who’ll have to live with the consequences if his scheme is given the go-ahead.”

While the new tunnel is aimed at solving the problem of northbound queues at the Blackwall Tunnel, it is likely to exacerbate traffic congestion elsewhere on the network, such as heading southbound through Sun-in-the-Sands on the A2 and, north of the river, along the Lower Lea Crossing and Aspen Way.

It will also enable the biggest HGVs to cross the Thames at this point, bringing more of these dangerous and polluting vehicles into east London.

Khan’s main idea to “green” the tunnel is a “cycle bus” scheme to enable cyclists to cross the Thames at this point – similar to a scheme that’s been operating at the Dartford crossing since the 1960s.

People affected by the scheme will have the chance to put their views to planning inspectors at special “open floor hearings” due to take place at the ExCeL centre in the Royal Docks on Thursday 13 October, at 10am and 7pm.