Campaigners stage River Thames protest over Silvertown Tunnel

stop the tunnel jet washed on thames

Campaigners have warned more is to come amid growing anger over the Silvertown Tunnel. - Credit: Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition

Campaigners have jet-washed "Stop the tunnel" onto a River Thames embankment in protest over the controversial Silvertown Tunnel scheme.

Opponents sprayed the words on a section of the earmarked route which would link Silvertown and the Greenwich Peninsula. They warn the action on Thursday, April 15 is a taste of things to come.

The protest was staged amid growing anger with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the London Assembly and Transport for London (TfL) over what campaigners view as an "ill-conceived climate-destroying motorway".

activists on the thames embankment

Activists daubing the words "Stop the tunnel" along the embankment. - Credit: Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition

Victoria Rance, from the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition campaign group, said: "As lockdown eases, we are going to see many more protests as people cannot understand why a motorway spewing juggernauts and HGVs into some of the poorest and most polluted areas of east and south-east London is still being pushed through.

"This is a project totally out of line with the current climate emergency," she added.

TfL says the scheme will reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel, improve journey times, boost jobs, cut pollution along some of the capital's busiest roads and allow for more cross-river bus links.

Once open, motorists will have to pay to use the twin-bore Silvertown Tunnel and Blackwall Tunnel.

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But opponents point to a London-wide Survation poll carried out last year which found 60 per cent of Londoners said the investment should go towards improving public transport, safer cycling and walking.

Simon Pirani, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, said persisting with a "polluting mega-tunnel" will "destroy any chance" of London meeting Paris Agreement targets.

The agreement is an international treaty adopted in Paris which came into force in 2016, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

London Labour did not respond to a request for comment. Neither the mayor's office nor London Assembly will comment during an election period.