'Significant concerns' about Silvertown Tunnel raised by Newham Council
PUBLISHED: 16:53 04 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 November 2016
Sir Robin Wales has said it would be “morally indefensible” for residents to have to pay a toll for using the Silvertown Tunnel.
The Mayor of Newham said the council will “absolutely not support” Transport for London’s (TfL) existing Silvertown proposals at a cabinet meeting attended by councillors at East Ham town hall yesterday evening.
A series of heated comments were made by Sir Robin as he spoke out against a “crossing that we do not want” and how he wanted to give the borough’s residents and businesses a “better deal”.
He said: “It is morally indefensible for east London, which is the hub of regeneration, to have to pay a toll.”
Under current TfL propsals, a DLR crossing will be added at Gallions Reach.
However, the Newham mayor is calling for a vehicle crossing to be prioritised in order to create better economic opportunities and reduce congestion in the borough.
He said: “We have very reasonable demands and chief amongst these is Gallions Reach which would increase the opportunities of east London.”
Other councillors also aired their “significant concerns” with the Silvertown Tunnel.
Cllr Ken Clark, who is responsible for regeneration and planning, talked about the scale of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) passing through the borough during the construction phase and how this would affect what was already “gridlocked traffic”.
He said: “This isn’t a nine-five operation. It is going to be 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Elsewhere, Cllr Quintin Peppiatt questioned the fairness in asking east Londoners to pay a user charge for using the tunnel when so many people in west London did not have to do the same.
In mentioning the proposed Garden Bridge, he said: “They are not talking about having a tax for that.”
The full number of criticisms have been outlined in an Impact Report which will be passed to the Planning Inspector next week along with other key documents.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL), said: “The Mayor [of London] has committed to deliver the major infrastructure needed to support London’s growth, including new river crossings in the east.
“He recently announced a range of enhancements to the Silvertown Tunnel which will mean less disruption during construction, further pedestrian and cycling improvements to the local area and frequent public transport services through the tunnel.
“A six-month public examination of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme is underway and we will listen carefully to the views of the local community as this progresses.”