Calls for Mayor of London to cancel Silvertown Tunnel grow

Labour campaigners are calling for Sadiq Khan to cancel plans for the Silvertown Tunnel crossing.

Campaign group SE London Labour for a Green New Deal (LGND) are concerned about pollution from trucks using the tunnel and the cost of the project – which has risen to £2 billion.

Four MPs have supported the campaign including Shadow Minister for Climate Change and MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, Matthew Pennycook.

Lewisham and Southwark council have also called for the project to be axed – as well as 20 Labour branch parties and eight Labour constituency parties across London.

Lauren Townsend, LGND spokesperson and Labour councillor, said: “Building a massive road tunnel with a dedicated lane for lorries can never be part of a credible Labour policy on fighting climate change. 

“Party activists across London are calling on Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan to cancel this polluting project before it’s too late.” 

The tunnel will generate more traffic and release more dangerous particles into the air, research with reference to studies by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change claims.

It would also make it almost impossible for London to meet its Paris Accord carbon reduction targets, campaigners claim.

The estimated cost of the project has now more than tripled from the original estimate of £600 million to £2 billion – and may increase further as major construction work has not begun.

Izzy Hickmet, SE London LGND campaigner and teacher, said: “Sadiq Khan made the right decision when he cancelled Johnson’s vanity project, the so-called Garden bridge. Now Labour members all over London are urging him to think again on the Silvertown Tunnel – which is another Johnson project. 

“Sadiq Khan has a prime opportunity to show his green credentials in action. Given that Sadiq Khan has done so much to try to lower air pollution in the capital, it is puzzling that he’s backing a project that will negate the good work he has done so far. 

“As Labour campaigners, we are concerned that the party cannot be credible on green issues if its representatives at the London level are pushing a polluting tunnel with a dedicated HGV lane. 

“It just doesn’t make sense and would be tragic if this was Labour’s legacy – to be paid for in health consequences and damage to the environment for decades to come.” 

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: “Anyone who has ever been caught in traffic due to a problem in the Blackwall Tunnel will know that there is an urgent need for another river crossing in this part of London. 

“Extensive modelling shows that the introduction of tolls on both tunnels at Silvertown and Blackwall will mean no overall increase in traffic and an overall improvement in air quality. 

“The new tunnel will mean fewer idling vehicles and better local bus services, including double deck zero emission buses which currently can’t operate across the river because of the restrictive size of the Blackwall tunnel.”





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