Khan under pressure to ‘pause and reflect’ over Silvertown Tunnel - International Burch University
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Khan under pressure to ‘pause and reflect’ over Silvertown Tunnel

London mayor Sadiq Khan has come under pressure to “pause and reflect” on plans for the Silvertown Tunnel in light of the climate emergency.

At yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time, Green Party assembly member Zack Polanski called for a “comprehensive review” of the scheme.

“Opposition is growing by the day,” he said. “How loud does this have to be for you to pause and reflect? Last month I promised to push you further and faster when I believe there are gaps in your plans for climate emergency and this tunnel is a pretty huge gap.

“Londoners are rightly very concerned about it and I think more will be as awareness grows.”

Polanski also asked Khan to meet local residents to talk about the plans.

However Khan said the scheme has been “one of the most heavily scrutinised projects in the history of the mayoralty”.

He added: “”It has been consulted on in one form or another on 10 separate occasions. All these consultations helped TfL develop its proposals with the benefit of feedback from the public and other stakeholders.

“As a result of this extensive consultation and engagement and my own review of the project, the scheme is very different to the one first envisaged, with better public transport, walking and cycling provision, concessions and discounts people, support for local businesses and stronger environmental commitments for construction.

“We’ve long needed a new river crossing in this part of London and I’m confident we have the right scheme for Londoners.”

The 1.4km twin bored Silvertown Tunnel is set to be completed in 2025 and will connect south London with the Tidal Basin Roundabout in Silvertown, in a bid to relieve congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel.

In May it was revealed that TfL has already spent £56M on the controversial project.

The project attracted a lot of attention in the build up to the London Mayoral Election with many local politicians calling for it to be scrapped on environmental grounds.

In April, a group of senior transport planners and climate experts urged transport secretary Grant Shapps and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to put an immediate stop to work on the Silvertown Tunnel to re-evaluate the scheme’s environmental impact.

In a letter to Shapps and Khan, the group of 52 academics and campaigners called for an “emergency review” to be carried out to determine if the East London project is in line with the UK’s climate change objectives.

Despite its objectors, work on the project continues to gather pace with more than 60% of piling work now complete.


Department of Civil Engineering