Mayor Khan refuses to pull plug on Silvertown Crossing scheme after Blackwall Tunnel incident
PUBLISHED: 17:53 25 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:53 25 May 2016
The new Mayor of London has come under fire today from the Green party for "failing to stop work" on the proposed Silvertown Tunnel after taking office.
The criticism came 24 hours after a fuel spillage caused the A12 Blackwall Tunnel to close for 15 hours, causing traffic congestion across east and south-east London until it was reopened this-morning.
Sadiq Khan was challenged at today’s London Assembly Question Time for not pulling the plug on the Silvertown project—which ironically would have been able to relieve the Blackwall traffic—while he conducts a ‘joined-up review’ of all river crossings in east London.
Assembly Member Caroline Russell urged him to withdraw an application for powers to build the four lane tunnel running parallel under the Thames. But the Mayor refused.
“It is disappointing that the Mayor wants to push ahead with the hugely damaging Silvertown Tunnel,” she said. “His ‘river crossings’ review will be a sham if he lets plans for this major crossing reach an advanced stage.”
Boris Johnson asked the government for powers to build the tunnel in one of his last acts as Mayor of London.
Mayor Khan who took over after the May 5 election had promised to conduct a “proper joined up review” looking at all river crossings and public transport links east of Tower Bridge” in a strategic fashion—not piecemeal”.
But that has upset the Greens.
“New roads bring new traffic and pollution,” Caroline Russell insisted. “East London is already one of the most polluted parts of the capital, so building huge new roads would make a bad situation even worse.”
It follows the scandal earlier this month over a report about primary schools affected by air pollution which Boris Johnson had been sitting on for two-and-a-half years.
The top four schools worst affected in London are in the East End, clustered around Aldgate, Tower Hill, Whitechapel and Poplar.
Mayor Khan came across the report when he arrived at City Hall on May 6. He subsequewntly announced plans for public consultations on extending the inner London Ultra Low Emissions zone out to the North Circular and South Circular roads while on a visit Aldgate’s Sir John Cass Primary school on May 13—one of the four schools worst effected.