TfL to sign Silvertown Tunnel contract 'as soon as possible' after rival bidder agrees to end legal halt
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2019
A legal halt over the award of the £1billion Silvertown Tunnel contract has been lifted.
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that rival bidder - Silver Thames Connect (STC) - has agreed to its application in the courts to end the halt.
Reserve bidder STC took TfL to court over its decision to award Riverlinx the massive project joining the Greenwich Peninsula to Silvertown, challenging the outcome of the transport authority's procurement process.
The start of court proceedings automatically led to the legal suspension of TfL's right to award the contract.
But a TfL spokesman said today (October 22): "We will now progress the arrangements for the award of the contract to the Riverlinx consortium as soon as possible."
The government body said it will continue to "robustly defend" its approach to the procurement and talk to STC about the remaining issues.
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TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan argue the twin-bore tunnel - which would be within the extended ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) - will remove barriers for people who want to cross the River Thames in east London.
They say the link will see new bus services introduced, improve the reliability of roads in the area and ease congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel.
But the scheme has been opposed by activists, people living around the proposed site and some councillors who say the tunnel will worsen air quality at one of London's worst pollution hotspots.
Last week, Cllr Danny Thorpe, leader of Greenwich Council, urged Mayor Khan to reconsider the link. Newham's mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz has also called for a review.
Victoria Rance, coordinator of the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, accused Mayor Khan of "astonishing hypocrisy" for holding an air quality conference at City Hall on October 23 while he pushes ahead with the tunnel.
Ms Rance said: "TfL made very significant errors in their initial examination of options for this project - and it has not been reevaluated in light of new findings on air quality, or of the climate emergency.
"Council leaders have asked the mayor to halt and review the project as have residents, climate, traffic and environmental health experts.
"The mayor needs to listen to all these very well-informed people, understand that he has made a wrong call based on bad information and think again."