Council committee calls for Silvertown tunnel to be scrapped

Furious campaigners have landed a blow on the Silvertown Tunnel project as a council committee called for the plans to be scrapped.

The building of the road tunnel connecting Greenwich with West Silvertown in East London has been met with huge opposition.

Campaigners say the project will contribute to pollution, cause more congestion and traffic and is a waste of money.

But TfL defended their scheme as the construction came under fire last night, arguing the plans have gone through a transparent scrutiny process.

But Greenwich Council’s Regeneration, Culture and Scrutiny Panel have recommended the building of the tunnel be halted.

They cited concerns on whether the tolls at entry to the tunnel could be scrapped by future London Mayors.

Campaigner and climate writer Simon Pirani told the panel: “The GLA (Greater London Authority) now tell us that the project is too expensive to cancel. We have no doubt that it would be more expensive not to cancel.

“[This all comes] at a time when the Mayor is warning of draconian cuts to public transport due to financial constraints.

“The costs to the health of school children and others in terms of air pollution – can that be measured in money terms?”

Anti-tunnel campaigner Victoria Rance added: “Carbon, air quality and congestion all depend on the tolls and the tolls are not secure. And I think you need to get legal advice on if a future mayor with a populist agenda got into power [and wanted to scrap them].”

Labour councillor John Fahy was also not a fan. He said: “Is it simply just arrogance or a failure to understand the scientific evidence which encouraged you [TfL] to recommend to the Mayor that this tunnel should be built? The argument is totally against you.

“Post-pandemic and the crisis that TfL are in, I would’ve thought the last thing on your mind ought to be this bloody tunnel, frankly.”

TfL spokesperson Andrew Lunt defended the project and said: “All the evidence we have presented has gone through a public examination process and campaigners have been given the chance to scrutinise it.

“We’ve been really clear that tolls are essential to this scheme, they’re a core component of this scheme and need to be implemented and regularly reviewed.

“We believe there are comprehensive controls around how those tolls will be set.”

Reports say the tunnel, which is set to open in 2025, will cost around £2 billion.

The London Mayor has been contacted for comment.

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