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‘River crossing will also bridge employment gap’

14:15 06 February 2013

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham

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Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales

Newham offers an investment opportunity on a scale unmatched anywhere in Europe and I am hugely excited about the future. Over the next two decades more jobs are likely to be created here than anywhere else in London.

Stratford is already home to Westfield, the largest urban shopping centre in Europe. In the Royal Docks we have the ExCeL centre; London City Airport is looking to expand, and Siemens has recently invested in a £30 million new landmark visitor attraction and global knowledge hub.

We’ve worked with these and other local businesses and partners to shape the economic development of the borough and provide jobs to residents. This economic growth cannot continue without the right infrastructure and investment, and that is why East London needs more river crossings to further regenerate the area and ensure local people have access to upcoming employment opportunities.

There are 14 road bridges from Tower Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge and another 11 crossings within the M25. But, east of Tower Bridge, we only have four fixed river crossings, making it extremely difficult to transport goods and adding to the congestion in the area. The Mayor of London accepts that the growth of East and South East London are held back by a lack of river crossings in comparison with central and west London.

However, his proposals for a new Silvertown Tunnel and a new vehicle ferry at Gallions Reach are woefully inadequate and will not meet the needs of this growing part of the capital.

I believe a bridge at Gallions Reach alongside the development of a tunnel at Silvertown would provide a long-term solution to this problem, and there are a lot of big-name businesses who agree with us. These crossings are vital to accommodate the extra homes, businesses and jobs that residents need and deserve. London is moving east. We need to work together to help keep it moving.

To support the river crossings campaign visit www.newham.gov.uk/bridgethegap.

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