The decision on whether the Silvertown Tunnel will be built has been delayed again – this time until May 2018 – to allow issues surrounding air quality to be considered further.
We think this gives London mayor Sadiq Khan and his deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross, the ideal chance to show leadership and cancel a scheme which threatens to increase pollution and congestion across large areas of south-east and east London.
After six months of planning hearings, the Secretary of State for Transport was due to have made a decision by October on whether the tunnel, which would run from the Royal Docks to the Greenwich Peninsula, should be built.
No to Silvertown Tunnel – a group of residents on both sides of the Thames – has been fighting this scheme since it first emerged under Boris Johnson’s mayoralty, and has gained cross-party support for its campaign. Three affected boroughs – Hackney, Lewisham and Southwark – opposed the tunnel at planning hearings.
When we started our campaign, concerns about the tunnel and air pollution were ignored by many London politicians. We see the lengthy delay to the planning process as, in part, a vindication of the time and energy we and our valued supporters have put into the campaign.
But this delay must now be used to finally kill off this tunnel, and to consider new ways of cutting congestion and improving links across the River Thames.
No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Anne Robbins says:
“We’ve offered to talk to Sadiq Khan and Val Shawcross about our concerns but have never even been sent a response. They need to stop running away from this issue and must now face up to their responsibilities.
“This delay gives them the opportunity to cancel a scheme which will do huge damage to communities on both sides of the Thames, and one which will simply end up making congestion worse across a wide area.
“Sadiq Khan is serious about tackling air pollution, but he needs to show leadership and scrap this toxic tunnel.”