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Newham Council today launched a campaign for more river crosings —proposing a new tunnel between Silvertown and Greenwich and a new bridge at Gallions Reach retail park.

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The Bridge the Gap campaign, was launched earlier today in collaboration with Greenwich Council.

In a joint statement the two boroughs said the crossings would provide the only viable long term solution to a problem, which has long held back economic growth in South East London.

It is hoped The Silvertown Tunnel will provide relief to traffic at the Blackwall Tunnel and support the development of Royal Docks and Greenwich.

The bridge at Gallions Reach, connecting Beckton and Thamesmead, would improve accessibility to more than 40 sites either side of the river, transforming their development prospects and creating around 20,000 jobs, according to the two boroughs.

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “Central and West London have long been recipients of investment and new transport infrastructure.

“The economic argument stacks up for investing in East London —a bridge at Gallions Reach would provide value for money and a long term solution to congestion.

“Not only would it serve local needs and local businesses, but it would open up the area to wider regeneration and bring economic benefits.”

But London Assembly member for the Green Party, Darren Johnson, has written in protest to Transport for London, who are consulting on the river crossings until February 1.

Mr Johnson hits out at TfL for not providing adequate information about the impact the crossings would have on traffic, residents and the environment.

Friends of the Earth London Campaigner Jenny Bates, also criticised the plans saying: “New Thames road crossings would just add to traffic, congestion and exacerbate air pollution which is already a health hazard.

“The priority should be to make our streets safer to walk and cycle and provide better public transport - which would help free up space on existing river crossings.”

An online petition by Greenwich residents has also been launched against the proposals.

Friends of the Earth will be holding a public meeting on the road river crossings at St Matthias Community Centre, 113 Poplar High Street, on January 21, from 7-9 p.m.

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