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Christian Wolmar attacks plans for third Blackwall Tunnel

By Adam Bienkov
9 January 2013, 09:18

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Leading transport commentator Christian Wolmar has come out against plans by Boris Johnson and Labour councils to build a third Blackwall Tunnel at Silvertown.

Wolmar, who is standing to become Mayor of London in 2016, said that he “cannot support” the tunnel because it would “lead to more congestion not less.”

He told The Scoop:

“I like the idea of a ferry but cannot support a road tunnel. It would undoubtedly lead to more congestion not less. The oversize problem should be dealt with through better management of the tunnel.”

He also told a meeting last night that he would “have a word” with those in the Labour party backing the plan.

Wolmar’s intervention exposes a deep rift amongst members of the London Labour party over their support for a new road tunnel between Silvertown and the Greenwich Peninsula.

Labour councils in Greenwich and Newham officially support Boris’s plan, but many local activists and leading figures in the party do not.

The chair of Greenwich Labour Party David Gardner has already signed an online petition against the plans saying that it would be “bad for air quality, bad for CO2 emissions [and] bad for people’s health.”

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has also criticised the plans.

He told The Scoop during his last campaign to be mayor that it would be “mad” to “dump all that extra traffic in the area around the Greenwich Peninsula.”

The leadership of Newham Council are also thought to be divided over the issue.

Although they officially support a new tunnel, they have told Transport for London that their support is conditional on a new road bridge also being built at Gallions Reach.

TfL have no plans to do so in either the short or medium term.

The launch of Greenwich and Newham’s campaign for two new road crossings across the Thames was hijacked by environmental campaigners last week.

Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland admitted that they had done no studies into the impact of their plans on traffic and pollution levels before launching their campaign.

TfL are currently consulting over the proposals. There is also a petition against the Silvertown Tunnel here.

Adam Bienkov
Adam is a reporter for Politics.co.uk You can find links to his other work at AdamBienkov.com.

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