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TfL legally stopped from signing Silvertown contract

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 21:55 09 August 2019

A CGI of the proposed Silvertown Tunnel. Picture: TfL

A CGI of the proposed Silvertown Tunnel. Picture: TfL

TfL

Transport for London has been legally suspended from awarding contracts to the highly contentious Silvertown Tunnel, it can be revealed.

One bidder for the contracts is taking TfL to court over its decision to award the massive project to Riverlinx.

The new road, joining Greenwich to Silvertown, has been heavily opposed by activists, residents and some councillors for creating more fumes at one of London's worst pollution hotspots.

It comes as climate activists swarmed on a Blackwall Tunnel sliproad on Friday, August 9 in protest at the new tunnel.

The controversial river crossing has been criticised by many for contradicting the Mayor of London's declaration of a "climate emergency".

As the campaign group Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition continue to pressure the mayor to not sign off on the contracts, reserve bidder STC has challenged the outcome of the procurement process earlier this year.

A spokesman for TfL confirmed to the LDR service: "We are disappointed that our reserve bidder, STC, has decided to challenge the outcome of our procurement process for the design, build, finance and maintain contract for the Silvertown Tunnel.

"We are awaiting further details about the claim and will respond to them in due course."

It is understood TfL will be looking to award the contract and begin construction as soon as possible.

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The challenge means TfL is legally suspended from awarding the contract to Riverlinx later this summer as planned.

Local activist Victoria Rance, spokeswoman for Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, described the news as "brilliant" and said she was thrilled to have more time to campaign against the tunnel.

She said: "We're incredibly interested in why this happened and we celebrate more time to continue the campaign.

"There's a climate emergency - everything changes in a climate emergency and the carbon spend on this project is way too high. Everything has to be reconsidered."

Ms Rance, who attended Blackwall Tunnel swarming today (Friday), said there had been overwhelming support from the community, and many locals didn't know about the plans for the new tunnel.

The controversial tunnel, estimated to cost £1bn, has drawn fierce local criticism on both sides of the water.

Hackney Council has recently reiterated its opposition to the new road, writing to transport chiefs calling for it to be abandoned.

Greenwich Council is committed to supporting the tunnel, however local Labour branches have begun pressuring leadership to change stance.

Green assembly member Caroline Russell welcomed the delay as "a real opportunity" for the mayor to reconsider the Silvertown project.

She said: "This toxic tunnel proposal locks in decades of extra polluting traffic driving through south and east London rather than helping people get around in a better way.

"The mayor should cancel Silvertown Tunnel now and get around the table with residents, campaigners and councils to discuss alternatives fit for a greener, cleaner London."

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