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Backing for Greenwich Silvertown Tunnel and Thames Gateway Bridge, survey shows
Greenwich Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise & Skills Cllr Denise Hyland and Councillor Conor McAuley, Newham Council executive member for regeneration and strategic planning
GREENWICH campaigners say they will continue to fight a controversial new road tunnel - as speculation mounts the axed Thames Gateway Bridge could be resurrected.
Results of a Transport for London (TfL) consultation released last week show 76 per cent of 6,409 respondents backed a tunnel from the Greenwich peninsula under the Thames to Silvertown - aiming to relieve strain on the Blackwall crossing.
But a spokesman for the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign, whose online petition against the peninsula plans was signed by 376 people, pointed out groups including the Charlton, Eltham and Greenwich societies along with neighbouring councils like Lewisham and Bexley all raised concerns about the plan.
He said: "The public were given no information about the impact of these proposals on pollution and congestion before they were consulted. However, all the evidence shows that new roads simply increase traffic.
"While the Silvertown Tunnel may relieve congestion at Blackwall Tunnel in the short term, in the long term it would just encourage even more traffic onto London's already overcrowded road network."
Friends of the Earth has announced a legal challenge to the consultation, while Green London Assembly member Darren Johnson called for the mayor to abandon new road links, saying: "TfL has spent over £43m on river crossing plans and consultations since 2000 and we have seen no end result."
The consultation also showed that, while a new ferry at Gallions Reach off Thamesmead - replacing the Woolwich service - was backed by 51 per cent of people, 71 per cent preferred the option of a bridge or tunnel.
That result has led to speculation the Thames Gateway Bridge plan - axed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson when he first came to power - could be put back on the agenda.
A tunnel could be built by 2021 if approved, while a bridge would not be constructed until after that time. More detailed consultations would take place before any final decision.
TfL's managing director of planning Michele Dix said: "The proposed additional road infrastructure is vital.
"Apart from the opening of the QEII Bridge at Dartford there has been no increase in the capacity of the highway network across the river in east London for nearly 50 years."
Leader of Greenwich Council Councillor Chris Roberts, whose administration backed the Silvertown tunnel and bridge plans, said the results showed "clear and strong support", but noted respondents were unwilling to pay tolls at Blackwall and the new crossings to fund them.
He said: "While we respect the concerns of those opposed to tolls, we recognise that these essential crossings cannot be financed without them. We believe that tolls, if operated intelligently, can act as an effective measure for managing both demand and congestion.
"We stand ready to assist TfL in the work necessary to bring these crossings to the next stage of development."
Visit the TfL website for more on the consultation.
How Greenwich responded
2,194 respondents were from Greenwich - 34 per cent of the total. Of these:
32 per cent crossed the river by road four or more days per week.
75 per cent supported the Silvertown tunnel.
53 per cent supported a new ferry at Gallions Reach.
75 per cent backed a fixed link crossing instead of a ferry at Gallions Reach.
35 per cent supported tolls at the new crossings and Blackwall Tunnel.
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