Pressure mounts on Sadiq Khan as third MP opposes Silvertown Tunnel
- Credit: TfL
The mayor of London is under renewed pressure to halt the Silvertown Tunnel with a third MP coming out against the £1 billion scheme.
Labour Party MP Abena Oppong-Asare has joined West Ham MP Lyn Brown and Matthew Pennycook, who represents Woolwich and Greenwich, in opposing the project.
Ms Oppong-Asare, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, urged Sadiq Khan to engage "meaningfully" with the concerns of those opposing the scheme which sees a tunnel linking Silvertown to the Greenwich Peninsula beneath the River Thames.
In a letter to the mayor, she wrote: "Green transport must be the future of this city".
The Labour mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz and Labour mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville have already called on Mr Khan to abandon the project, while the Labour leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Danny Thorpe, has called for the project to be paused and reviewed.
Christian Wolmar, a transport expert shortlisted as a Labour candidate for the 2016 London elections, said: “I cannot understand why Sadiq Khan is persisting with this out-of-date project.
"The Silvertown Tunnel is a 1970s solution to a 21st century problem. You can’t build more roads to get yourself out of a crisis when all it does is make it easier to get in a car or HGV and pollute more of London’s air."
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“Why are the mayor and TFL doing this when it goes against their own agenda for a low-pollution, carbon neutral city?”
A Mayor of London spokesperson said: “Sadiq has been clear he doesn’t want to replace one health crisis with another. He is determined our city’s recovery from coronavirus will be clean, fair and sustainable.
“A new tunnel at Silvertown is important because the existing infrastructure is both antiquated and worn out, and it will be funded by a toll, not TfL cash.
“Crucially, the tunnel will provide a public transport-focused river crossing with improved bus links across the Thames."
She added the combination of tolls at the Blackwall Tunnel and at Silvertown - and extension of the ultra low emission zone from 2021 to include Silvertown - will play a "crucial" role in tackling congestion and improving air quality.
Green groups Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion support the campaign to scrap the scheme, according to Victoria Rance who speaks for the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition.