Transport campaigner calls for Silvertown Tunnel to be scrapped

The transport writer and campaigner Christian Wolmar is calling on London’s Mayor to scrap the Silvertown Tunnel scheme, in order for him to win the next Mayoral election.

Writing on the website Labour List, Mr Wolmar comments that a change in voting rules, based on a first-past-the-post system would mean that Green Party voters who would choose Labour as second-preference will no longer do so.

“Worse,” he writes, “Many Green-leaning Labour supporters will simply decide not to turn out due to Sadiq’s support for a scheme that is so clearly out of kilter with the ideals professed by the Labour leadership in City Hall. The mayoral vote was a mere 55-45 this year, and Sadiq had the advantage not only of incumbency but also of a hopeless Tory candidate whose response to every issue was an ill-thought out kneejerk.”

The writer adds that, “Dumping Silvertown is a good move not only for reasons of naked electoral advantage. It is noticeable that neither Sadiq nor any other prominent Labour campaigners for City Hall posts ever mention the bloody scheme. There’s a good reason for that. It’s a disaster on every level, starting with the £2bn (and rising) cost.”

He continues, “A far more sensible solution would be to toll Blackwall tunnels now and use the money for funding other more sustainable river crossing schemes. It is astonishing that this obvious solution to the current congestion has never been properly tested through modelling.

“Moreover, Silvertown is an environmental disaster. First, building roads to relieve congestion is a policy that has been repeatedly discredited in reports stretching back to the 1980s, which showed that increasing road space simply encourages car use. Not surprising none of the local councils and MPs are cheerleading for the scheme. Quite the opposite. They realise such a massive new road project will simply increase local traffic and worsen local air pollution.”

The article concludes with a warning, “Now that Crossrail is finished and due to open early next year, Silvertown will become Transport for London’s biggest project during this mayoralty. In other words, a major road project is at the head of the mayor’s agenda at a time when he is constantly reiterating his support for environmentally-friendly policies. It does not stack up and it may well cost Labour the London mayoralty in 2024.”

(Picture – Transport for London)

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