Friends of the Earth seeks judicial review of river crossing plans in East London

East Ham MP Stephen Timss and CEO of London City Airport Declan Collier are backing a campaign for n

East Ham MP Stephen Timss and CEO of London City Airport Declan Collier are backing a campaign for new bridge in East London - Credit: submitted

Friends of the Earth is calling for a judicial review of a consultation on controversial plans to build two new river crossings in East London.

The environmental charity has asked the High Court to investigate what they describe as a “flawed” consultation by Transport for London on a four lane tunnel at Silvertown and a bridge, tunnel or ferry at Gallions Reach. The two sides disagree on whether the projects will relieve or worsen traffic at the Blackwall Tunnel.

The charity says TfL published a document late in the consultation process without allowing adequate time to respond to it and failed to give adequate reasons for the options it was consulting on.

Their campaigner Jenny Bates said: “More traffic from the London Mayor’s controversial river crossings would have a damaging impact on the health and environment of local people - communities must be given a proper chance to comment on these plans.”

But it comes as TfL last week released the findings of a second consultation, which they say reveals continued support for the projects.

More than 90 percent agreed there is a need for more river crossings in East and South East London, according to TfL. But only a third supported the introduction of road tolls to pay for it.

Seventy-six per cent supported a new road tunnel between Silvertown and Greenwich Peninsula, which could be build by 2021.

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The introduction of new ferry service at Gallions Reach from 2017 was supported by 51 per cent, but 71 per cent preferred a fixed link even though it could not be delivered until 2021. Around 10,000 people responded to both consultations.

TfL’s managing director of Planning, Michèle Dix, said: “We are opposing Friends of the Earth’s application for judicial review of our river crossings consultation. As part of our ongoing consideration of much needed new river crossings in east and south east London, we carried out an early consultation on a number of options. The consultation received more than 6,000 responses which will be taken into account when we decide the next steps.”

Meanwhile East Ham MP Stephen Timms and the chief executive of London City Airport last week backed a campaign by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry for a bridge at Gallions Reach.

Mr Timms said: “East London has been crying out for a new bridge for a long time. A new bridge is essential for the growth of the East London economy.”