Tag Archives: sadiq khan

Silvertown Tunnel: Make sure you can have your say at planning (it’ll take you just a few seconds)

Congratulations to London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, on winning May’s election. He’s been busy setting out his agenda, and we’ve been busy watching what he’s doing.

TfL has been busy too. In the dying days of Boris Johnson’s administration, it submitted its planning application for the Silvertown Tunnel.

Considering the terrible impact the tunnel would have on air quality, it was sadly appropriate that it chose 3 May, World Asthma Day, to submit the application.

As part of this process, a whole raft of documents appeared last week, including a report on last autumn’s statutory consultation.

TfL acts on the priorities of the mayor. This process is a legacy of the priorities of the last mayor, who was determined to get this into planning, regardless of the results of any consultation.

It’s something we – and you – need to engage with.

Planning Inspectorate form

So, please do two things. Firstly, visit this website:

Secondly, scroll down, and fill in your email address on the right-hand side of the page.

This will put you on the Planning Inspectorate’s mailing list. This means that if there are planning hearings, you’ll be able to register so you can send your views on the tunnel to the inspector.

Quite simply, the more objectors who are lined up to respond, the better. If you’ve done this already – thank you. If you haven’t, please do it now.

Back to the new mayor. We’re looking at his new anti-pollution policies, TfL’s priorities and some of the revelations about the last administration with great interest.

We’ll be looking to Sadiq Khan to carry out his promise to review the current proposals for river crossings, including the Silvertown Tunnel. Visit www.toxictunnel.co.uk to send him a reminder that his review won’t mean a thing if he doesn’t take the tunnel out of planning.

Sign our petition: Take the Silvertown Tunnel out of planning, Sadiq

Sadiq Khan

We’ve launched a new petition to demand new mayor Sadiq Khan withdraws the Silvertown Tunnel from the planning system ahead of his promised review of TfL’s river crossing schemes.

During the election campaign, Mayor Khan pledged to look again at the proposals, acknowledging worries about the air pollution and congestion a new road crossing between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula would cause.

“We need a proper joined up review, looking at river crossings and improved public transport connections east of Tower Bridge,” he told website Transport Network in April.

He followed that up by telling Londonist: “My concern is that there’s not a proper plan to have crossings that don’t have an adverse impact on air quality, the environment and the people in the south east of London.

“What you should be thinking about is public transport, cycling.”

Mayor Khan told London Assembly members on Wednesday that he was reviewing the scheme, along with all the crossing proposals put in place under Johnson – but refused to withdraw it from the planning system.

Now the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign is asking him to:

– Show us he is serious about his commitment to tackle pollution by withdrawing the Silvertown Tunnel proposal from the planning system immediately.

– Fully review the Silvertown Tunnel – taking into account all views, instead of relying on Transport for London’s flawed modelling – and other crossing schemes planned east of Tower Bridge.

Pre-construction costs for the tunnel are £107m, according to documents submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The full cost of building the tunnel will be at least £1 billion.

Our petition can be found at www.toxictunnel.co.uk.

Can we trust the proposal after pollution cover-up?

Since Mayor Khan was elected, it has been revealed his predecessor covered up report that made clear the effects of air pollution in the boroughs that will be affected by the Silvertown Tunnel, such as Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark.

The planning documents for the tunnel review that the planning costs alone have hit £107m – with the total bill already reaching the £1 billion mark. Cutting costs at TfL was one of Mayor Khan’s election promises.

“We never had much faith in the congestion and pollution assessments for the Silvertown Tunnel, but the shocking revelations about pollution and primary schools mean the new mayor must urgently review City Hall’s roadbuilding plans,” No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Anne Robbins says.

“Nobody is denying Blackwall Tunnel congestion isn’t a problem, but the Silvertown Tunnel will only make the situation worse. Even a tunnel for ‘cleaner vehicles’ would just send more polluting traffic into local areas to head to the Rotherhithe Tunnel. The planning costs alone are £107m – money TfL could put to better use elsewhere.

“Sadiq Khan needs to pull the scheme out of planning, and urgently look again at a scheme that will damage the lives of communities across east and south-east London.”

Sign up NOW to have your say on the tunnel later

For now, the tunnel remains in the planning system, so if you object to the tunnel, please sign up to the Planning Inspectorate website so you can register to have your say.

Planning Inspectorate form

Firstly, visit this website:

Secondly, scroll down, and fill in your email address on the right-hand side of the page.

This will make sure you have the opportunity to have your say on the tunnel should it stay in the planning system. But please, make sure you also tell Sadiq Khan to pull the plug on it: www.toxictunnel.co.uk.

Where do the candidates stand? Think of the Silvertown Tunnel when you vote this Thursday

Polling Station by Paul Wilkinson used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

London elects a new mayor this Thursday. Unlike most elections, every vote counts in this one – so your choice could help decide whether the Silvertown Tunnel goes ahead or not.

There are many, many issues that will influence your vote, but you may wish to consider the candidates’ views on the Silvertown Tunnel before casting your votes.

You have a first choice and a second choice on the pink ballot for mayor. This means you can vote with your heart with your first preference, and your head with your second choice.

It’s also worth considering the tunnel when voting on the orange paper – the party list ballot that decides some of the membership of the London Assembly, the body which scrutinises the mayor’s policies.

Over the past seven months we’ve been contacting candidates, meeting some of them, reading their manifestos and keeping up with their interviews to find out where they stand on the Silvertown Tunnel.

We’re also grateful that so many other people have also been in touch with them, reminding them that the Silvertown Tunnel is the wrong solution to London’s traffic problems.

Caroline Pidgeon - picture from London Liberal Democrats

Anti-tunnel: Caroline Pidgeon

One candidate has included scrapping the tunnel in her main manifesto – Liberal Democrat contender Caroline Pidgeon. As a former Southwark councillor – and current London Assembly member – she’s well aware that the Silvertown Tunnel is not a parochial issue affecting only Greenwich, Silvertown or Poplar – the extra traffic the tunnel will attract will clog up streets right across east and south east London.

Her manifesto says:

“We will oppose the proposed Silvertown Tunnel, which would exacerbate congestion at a cost of £1 billion.”

We’ve met Caroline and her team and are grateful for her support, which has included asking outgoing mayor Boris Johnson tough questions about the scheme. She also heads her party list for the London Assembly – on the orange ballot paper.

Sian Berry - picture from London Green Party

Anti-tunnel: Sian Berry

We’ve also had consistent support from Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for mayor. Her manifesto commits her to scrapping all new roadbuilding projects in London. Local manifestos for east London and south-east London highlight the threat from the Silvertown Tunnel.

“We will cancel plans for new road-building schemes, including river crossings and new road tunnels. Instead, our investment plans will be for new river crossings for people on foot, bikes and public transport.”

Sian spoke at our public meeting in Greenwich in October 2013, and also helped us in her old day job as roads campaigner for our friends at Campaign for Better Transport. She’s been emphasising her opposition to the tunnel in recent weeks, including bringing it to a national audience on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Again, Sian heads the Green Party list for the London Assembly – on the orange ballot paper – where she aims to replace outgoing Green assembly member Darren Johnson, who has also asked tough questions of the mayor about the tunnel. We’d like to thank Darren for his work.

Sadiq Khan

Wants a review: Sadiq Khan

Labour’s Sadiq Khan made his first comment on the tunnel last month, distancing himself from TfL’s proposals. He said they “do not fully take into consideration the importance of greener transport, and imposing a toll is in many people’s minds a tax on East and South East Londoners”.

He added: “We need a proper joined up review, looking at river crossings and improved public transport connections east of Tower Bridge, but in a strategic fashion, not piecemeal like the current mayor.”

And last week he told Londonist:

“My concern is that there’s not a proper plan to have crossings that don’t have an adverse impact on air quality, the environment and the people in the south east of London.”

Five Labour boroughs – Lewisham, Southwark, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Newham – have opposed the current Silvertown Tunnel plans in the most recent TfL consultation, and it’s good to see Sadiq recognise the serious flaws in the proposal.

We’d be happy to meet him and explain more about why the tunnel is bad for London.

Zac Goldsmith - Conservative Party

Pro-tunnel: Zac Goldsmith

Which brings us to Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate. His campaign team may wave around placards reading “cleaner air”, but in the case of the Silvertown Tunnel, it’s just hot air – he’s a wholehearted supporter.

According to his manifesto:

“I will back a new, privately-financed tunnel at Silvertown as part of my Action Plan for Greater London, with construction starting from 2018… To ensure it doesn’t add to air pollution, I will levy higher charges for dirty vehicles, while offering discounts for the cleanest cars.”

Zac’s basically taking TfL’s current proposal and passing it off as his own, with the addition that he’d charge highly polluting vehicles more to use the tunnel.

This actually risks even worse pollution than TfL’s current plans, as the filthiest vehicles would then start clogging up other streets looking for the nearest free crossing.

For someone who spent 10 years as editor of a magazine called The Ecologist, it’s a frighteningly naive proposal, and deeply disappointing. Maybe he’s being very badly advised. Or perhaps for Zac, clean air only matters in the west of London, where he has campaigned against Heathrow Airport expansion.

Of the other candidates, Ukip’s Peter Whittle has not addressed the Silvertown Tunnel directly, but he has said he is against building new river crossings for cars.

Care about clean air and congestion? Cancel the Silvertown Tunnel

It’s an election where candidates are very keen to boast how much they care about clean air.

Communities across east and south east London deserve clean air as much as their neighbours in west and central London – so we’ll be looking for the next mayor to cancel the Silvertown Tunnel at the first opportunity.

As far as the orange ballot paper is concerned, we can’t emphasise enough how Greens and Liberal Democrats have asked tough questions of the mayor, in contrast to other assembly members. If the next mayor decides to push on with the Silvertown Tunnel, this sort of scrutiny will be badly needed.

Whatever happens on 5 May, we’ll be watching the results closely, both for the mayoral and London Assembly elections.

And whoever wins can be sure of one thing – we’ll be in touch to say hello as soon as they’ve got their feet under the table.

Main photo: Polling Station by Paul Wilkinson, used under Creative Commons licence CC-BY-2.0.

Send them a postcard – tell Zac and Sadiq to scrap the toxic tunnel

our postcard to Zac and Sadiq

It’s time to tell mayoral candidates what you think of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and our high levels of air pollution – and we can help.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign has produced postcards that you can send to Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan, and others, to make them think about what Transport for London’s plans will do to our health and well-being.

We’ll be distributing them in the coming days for you and your friends and neighbours to sign and post.

You can pick some up from us at café drop-in sessions, on April 4 and 13, or email us at info@silvertowntunnel.com.

If you’re local to Charlton, Blackheath, Greenwich or Eltham, we’re happy to deliver by hand – if not, we can post some to you.

The more cards the candidates receive, the more they’ll take note of the serious effects the Silvertown Tunnel’s increased road traffic levels will cause. (You could also use them to thank Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon for their continued support of our campaign to scrap the scheme.)

On Monday 4th April you’ll find us at the café at the Forum at Greenwich, Trafalgar Road, SE10 9EQ from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Then from 3:00 to 4:00 pm we’ll be at the lovely Pistachio’s Café in East Greenwich Pleasaunce, Chevening Road, SE10 0LA.

On Wednesday 13th April, we’ll be at the Old Cottage Café, Charlton Park, SE7 8UB from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, and then at Mycenae House, 90 Mycenae Road, SE3 7SE from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

Please join us to hear what the two candidates are saying (hint: not a lot), pick up postcards for yourself and friends and neighbours, and find out what you can do in the next stages of the planning application.