Committee Calls for Silvertown Tunnel to be axed

Committee Calls for Silvertown Tunnel to be axed

Opposition to the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel, planned to connect Greenwich with West Silvertown in East London continues, as campaigners  have been told they cannot address Greenwich Council’s cabinet on Wednesday (15th December).

It comes just days after a panel of councillors recommended that the council put plans for the tunnel on hold.

The Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition had been hoping to address a full council meeting, but that has been cancelled following a rise in Omicron coronavirus cases and concern over having a large group in the town hall.

The meeting is still, however, going ahead.

The £2 billion tunnel, between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula, was approved in 2018 and construction work is already underway on both sides of the river.

The tunnelling work is due to start in the spring and campaigners are hoping for a last-minute U-turn from London mayor Sadiq Khan, if there is enough backing.

They also want the council to challenge a loophole in the law giving permission for the scheme that means a future mayor can scrap planned tolls on both the new tunnel and the Blackwall Tunnel. Transport for London says that the new tunnel will rely on a user charge.

Last Thursday the regeneration, transport and culture scrutiny panel agreed with the campaigners, and called for the council to shift its position and The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Regeneration, Culture and Scrutiny Panel also recommended the building of the tunnel be halted.

Anti-tunnel campaigner Victoria Rance said, “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.”

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

The tunnel is planned to open in 2025 and is reported to cost around £2 billion.