West Ham MP slams Silvertown Tunnel plans
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 February 2020
West Ham MP Lyn Brown has urged London bosses to “stop making dirty investments” during a speech savaging the planned Silvertown Tunnel.
She added that politicians needed to make "green investments now" to avoid a "climate disaster".
The comments came during a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday morning, with MPs having their say on net zero targets and decarbonising transport in London.
Ms Brown said that east London residents in her constituency needed "affordable, accessible" transport "more than anything".
However, she slammed ideas that the Silvertown Tunnel would improve anything for those in the east.
"We have to make good, green investments now and we have to stop making dirty investments," she told members at the debate.
"The closest dirty investment I have to my constituency is London City Airport… (But) it's not just about airports, there's another big decision that has been made locally that I really want to focus on today and that's the Silvertown Tunnel.
"In east London there's a big problem with public transport connections across the river…The new tunnel can be no solution to this.
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"Building Silvertown, I'm told, is going to cost £1b pounds, and is going to use PFI (private finance initiative), so local residents are going to have to pay for the construction through tolls."
"(For) the people of east London, where poverty is undeniably high, they're going to pay for the joy of going south of the river."
The MP - who said she was joined by Newham, Hackney and Lewisham councils in opposing the project - claimed that construction of the tunnel alone will cause more than 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide - the same total emissions as over 28,000 UK residents last year alone.
"The stakes are high in decisions like this - 16,000 children in Newham attend schools close to the tunnel," she said.
"It's not just about what's happening in Silvertown, but it's about the type of decisions that we are making. We need to make the right decisions now in order to prevent a climate disaster.
"I'm pleading with anyone who'll actually listen - please, think again, stop expanding Heathrow, stop expanding city airport, stop the Silvertown Tunnel, and don't build the lorry park…let's invest in green transport links instead."
Transport for London announced in November the award of the contract to Riverlinx Consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the £1bn tunnel connecting Royal Docks and Greenwich.
Advocates say the project will provide important new routes across the Thames for east London.
However, sceptics have attacked the project for being "outdated" and fear it could have harmful health impacts for residents exposed to traffic congestion around the tunnel.