Recorder letters: Silvertown Tunnel, MSG Sphere, NHS planning and healthy workplace

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 June 2019

A computer generated image of Silvertown Tunnel. Picture: TfL

A computer generated image of Silvertown Tunnel. Picture: TfL


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

New tunnel is not a green scheme

Victoria Rance, Stop Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, writes:

The Silvertown Tunnel is not a clean or green scheme, as the mayor claims (Recorder). Quite the opposite, in fact. Just constructing this scheme will emit 153,000 tonnes of CO2.

It's a scheme explicitly designed to maintain existing levels of heavy motor traffic, at a time when we need to sharply reduce this traffic, both to improve local air quality, and to reduce carbon emissions.

The £1bn construction cost has to be paid back with tolls on motor traffic. This means that TfL will need to keep traffic levels high, even if they want to reduce them, to pay off the PFI loan.

The Silvertown Tunnel is designed to take larger HGVs than the Blackwall Tunnel, on dedicated HGV/bus lanes so we expect to see an increase in HGV traffic past local schools and homes.

The mayor's claim that there will be 37 new buses every hour does not reflect TfL's actual commitment, which is to 20 buses an hour at peak, for three years.

The greenest way to remove congestion and pollution around Blackwall is to either just toll the Blackwall Tunnel, or to implement distance-based road pricing across all of London. This will also allow free flow of buses through the Blackwall Tunnel, and will let the mayor improve bus services now, rather than in six-years time. Unlike the Silvertown scheme, this road pricing will also provide new funds to make active travel safer and public transport better. And it will not cost £1bn. The mayor should stop parroting TfL's deliberately deceptive propaganda, and review the scheme in light of the climate emergency.

Need for more 'transparency'

Ian Sinclair, McGrath Road, Stratford, writes:

So Madison Square Garden Company executive vice-president of development and construction Jayne McGivern's "membership of London Legacy Development Corporation board until 2016 is a matter of public record", according to MSG's spokesperson? ('"We are being pacified": Calls for transparency at public meeting on MSG Sphere', Recorder).

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This statement is somewhat disingenuous when you consider this is not mentioned in Ms McGivern's biography published on the MSG website. If one was being cynical, one might might conclude MSG would prefer Newham residents didn't know this inconvenient fact, even though it is highly relevant to the proposed MSG Sphere in Stratford.

End delay to NHS planning

Ed Tallis, head of services, London, Macmillan Cancer Support, writes:

The shortage of nurses could have dire consequences on those caring for cancer patients in London.

There are over 1,000 Macmillan health and social care professional posts in London, often based at hospitals and in the community supporting people with cancer and their families.

It is therefore worrying (but not surprising) to hear that two-thirds of nurses feel that they are struggling to provide good care to patients who are dying as a result of staff shortages, as Marie Curie has recently warned. Too many nurses find themselves compromised, trying to make sure patients are comfortable but unable to go the extra mile due to heavy workloads.

When it comes to specialist end-of-life care, allowing people the space to open up about their fears and wishes, and what they need support with, is essential. Without it, people living with cancer will not get the personalised care that allows them to live as fully as possible and ensures their end of life wishes are respected.

Difficulties in recruiting to the social-care workforce also mean that people with cancer who want and need personal care to support them to remain in their own home are not always able to get it. While the need for a fully funded plan for social care has never been more urgent, the long-promised green paper has been kicked into the long grass.

Government must make delivering a plan an urgent priority.

Walking advice a step forward

Stephen Edwards, director of Policy and Communications, Living Streets, writes:

New guidance from NICE (June 6) suggesting that every workplace promote physical activity couldn't have come sooner.

We work with businesses around the UK, encouraging walking to, from and during the working day. We see staff reap huge benefits from being more physically active - to their physical and mental health. Employees see higher productivity levels and reduced absenteeism.

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