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'Die-in' held at City Hall to oppose Silvertown Tunnel

PUBLISHED: 15:46 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:46 16 May 2019

Protestors at City Hall opposing the Silvertown Tunnel, which is due to begin construction this year. Picture: Nicola Brittain.

Protestors at City Hall opposing the Silvertown Tunnel, which is due to begin construction this year. Picture: Nicola Brittain.

Nicola Brittain

Campaigners against the new tunnel between Silvertown and Greenwich have held a 'die-in' at City Hall.

The Silvertown Tunnel was approved in 2019 and is due to begin construction this year.

The protesters are worried the new tunnel will make worse London's already poor air quality.

Victoria Rance, one of the campaigners, said: "Sadiq Khan recently declared a climate emergency and it seems that the tunnel doesn't fit in with that in the least bit.

"The tunnel with bring in new traffic: HGVs that currently don't fit. That means more pollution."

The Green Party’s Caroline Russell the Liberal Democrats’ Caroline Pidgeon both oppose the project and met with the protestors. Picture: Nicola Brittain.The Green Party’s Caroline Russell the Liberal Democrats’ Caroline Pidgeon both oppose the project and met with the protestors. Picture: Nicola Brittain.

While TfL has looked at the tunnel's affects on air quality, Ms Rance wants there to be an assessment by an independent body.

"Recall the whole thing. Stop any further work on it. Really look at the effect it's going to have on climate change."

Ms Rance said more than 250 people signed a letter opposing the project she delivered to Sadiq Khan at the demonstration.

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Instead of building the new route, they want the mayor to put a toll on the Blackwall Tunnel to decrease congestion further.

Two of London's assembly members met the group. The Green Party's Caroline Russell the Liberal Democrats' Caroline Pidgeon both oppose the project and met with the protestors.

Newham's mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has also come out against it.

But City Hall insists that, by decreasing congestion at Blackwall Tunnel (moving cars produce fewer emissions than moving ones) the new one in Silvertown will reduce air pollution.

A spokesman for London mayor Sadiq Khan said the environment was a focus for Mr Khan and that he sent the plans back when he took office to handle any environmental impacts.

"There will also be substantial investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the area, as well as extensive monitoring of noise and air quality during and after construction," he said.

Transport for London plans to control demand for the new route by placing it in extended Ultra Low Emission Zone and charging to use both the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels.

But the protestors highlighted the fact that there is no guarantee the next mayor would implement the toll promised after the Silvertown project is complete.

Despite TfL predicting a decrease in pollution, its models predict deteriorating air quality around the tunnel openings.

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