Campaigners are seeking to block a road tunnel under the Thames – but claim transport chiefs are trying to slow them down.
Stop the Silvertown Tunnel wants to launch a judicial review of the contract for construction of the transport link, which will connect the Greenwich Peninsula with west Silvertown on the north side of the Thames.
A legal challenge has to be lodged, within six weeks of the decision on November 25 by Transport for London (TfL) to award the contract to the Riverlinx consortium, which includes Cintra, Bam PPP PGGM, Macquarie Capital and SK E&C.
But the transport authority has so far delayed publication of the contracts by two weeks. Stop the Silvertown Tunnel claim this is a deliberate attempt to hinder a review.
The spokeswoman for Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Victoria Rance, said: “Our lawyers can’t do anything until they see a contract. There’s already a long delay to getting it published.
“TfL are busy redacting. We’ve got Christmas coming up and New Year. They are delaying and stalling. That’s what it feels to us.
“We’re going to have heavy goods vehicles passing through an area with lots of schools. That is an air pollution disaster for us.
“It’s just about business. It’s not about local people at all. It’s not about the future. It’s not about the climate emergency.
“It just seems extraordinary (London Mayor) Sadiq Khan is going ahead with this. We’ve got a climate emergency, we’ve got 10 years to sort this out.”
TfL’s aim is to reduce the pressure on the nearby Blackwall Tunnel. But campaigners believe the Silvertown Tunnel won’t even be very effective at reducing traffic.
Jenny Bates, air pollution campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “The
Silvertown Tunnel would at best be a massively expensive congestion
redistribution scheme – traffic might get across the river quicker, but just be held up at the next pinch points a bit further from the river on either side, adding to congestion and air pollution.
“Even if existing congestion and air pollution would be reduced in some places, this must not be at the expense of others getting already illegal air pollution further worsened.”
A spokesman for TfL denied that the delay was a stalling tactic.
He said: “A redacted contract will be published on the TfL website in due course.”
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