Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz has written an open letter to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan calling on him to cancel the proposed Silvertown tunnel development.
Mr Khan is due be making a final decision concerning the appointment of the Riverlinx consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the Silvertown Tunnel imminently.
Mayor Fiaz told Mayor Khan: “You’ll be aware that in line with a manifesto commitment I made last May when elected the Mayor of Newham, my administration is opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and made this clear at the time of the Development Consent Order decision.
“We remain opposed to the scheme due to the detrimental impact it will have on traffic congestion as well as toxic air quality in Newham; which is amongst the worst in England with devastating health impacts on our residents. Some 96 people die prematurely each year in our borough due to respiratory diseases caused by vehicle pollution.
“Consequently, on behalf of Newham residents I strongly urge you to reconsider the scheme and instead look again at the tolling of Blackwall Tunnel alone, which would reduce the demands there to manageable levels (and consequently reduce the current adverse impacts). It would also allow for the long-term funding of a complementary package of sustainable cross-river transport alternatives, which would provide a far better and long-lasting legacy for east London - while also being more supportive of our collective air quality aims.
“Additionally, I ask that you join us in campaigning directly to the new Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, to fund alternative sustainable transport interventions in East London directly to offset the impact of Silvertown tunnel.
“Our commitment to improving air quality and delivering the required behavioural change to meet the environmental and sustainability targets set for us in your own Transport Strategy has compelled us to work very hard to engage with our residents, businesses and key stakeholders to develop an impressive Local Implementation Plan (LIP) which your GLA officer colleagues have commended as being amongst the best LIPs in the capital. The Silvertown Tunnel scheme undermines our shared commitment to these crucial sustainability objectives.
“I trust that you will give serious consideration to our concerns and suggestions in advance of any final decision you make on the scheme; and instead look again at re-purposing the money allocated towards the development of a package of sustainable transport alternatives and interventions that will provide a lasting legacy to support good growth in the east sub-region that we can both be proud of.”