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Experts demand Sadiq Khan pauses 'controversial' £1bn Silvertown tunnel in open letter

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 16 August 2019

A CGI of the Silvertown Tunnel from the Silvertown side. Picture: TfL

A CGI of the Silvertown Tunnel from the Silvertown side. Picture: TfL

TfL

Campaigners and air quality academics have added their names to an open letter urging Sadiq Khan to halt the Silvertown tunnel.

Extinction Rebellion spokesman, Dr Andrew Boswell, accused the mayor of London of being in denial after the letter was sent demanding he pause the controversial river crossing linking Silvertown and Greenwich.

Dr Boswell said: "Emissions need to be cut around 50 times faster to have any hope of limiting global over-heating to within 1.5 degrees.

"The mayor and his advisors are in denial about the scale of the task."

Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition campaigners say £1billion will be wasted with the tunnel making pollution worse.

They add increased CO2 levels caused by a second crossing are incompatible with the mayor's own climate and air quality goals.

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who blames air pollution for the death of her nine-year old daughter, added her name to the open letter along with more than 40 others including the London mayoral candidates Sian Berry and Siobhan Benita.

The signatories want TfL to review traffic forecasts for the tunnel and consider how charging can be used to ease congestion at the Blackwall tunnel, but without the Silvertown crossing.

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The second demand is for TfL policy not to undermine the capital's ability to stick to carbon emission limits.

The third is for the mayor to commission new air quality assessments showing what would happen to pollution levels around both tunnels should future mayors scrap planned toll charges aimed at limiting demand.

A spokesman for Sadiq Khan said the mayor would not look into the merits of pursuing road pricing instead of the tunnel.

He added: "Sadiq has introduced the world-leading ultra low emission zone, which is the world's toughest emissions standard and will help reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health.

"As set out in the mayor's transport strategy, TfL will continue to review how the latest technology can ensure existing and future charging schemes reflect the changing needs of our city, including how best to tackle congestion and air pollution."

He went on to say the project will not be paused for the sought after reviews.

A TfL spokesman said: "The need for more river crossings in east London, to unlock growth and give residents and businesses better access to jobs and services, has been clear for decades."

He added the tunnel has been designed to resolve the worsening congestion and pollution problem around Blackwall and will improve air quality.

"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the project is delivered with minimal impact to local residents," he said.

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