News ShopperCalls to reopen bridge enquiry (From News Shopper)

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Calls to reopen bridge enquiry

News Shopper:

OPPONENTS of the Thames Gateway Bridge are again calling for the public inquiry into the plan to be reopened.

They say other traffic proposals made public will affect recommendations made by the planning inspector who heard the inquiry.

Bexley Council leader Councillor Ian Clement and Action Group Against the Bridge (AGAB), with St Michael's Residents' Association, have made representations on the issue.

Cllr Clement has written to Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly urging her to reopen the inquiry because of proposals to charge motorists for using the Blackwall Tunnel.

The inquiry closed last May.

Cllr Clement said: "We are fundamentally opposed to the imposition of tolls at the Blackwall Tunnel.

"This would change all the traffic forecasts, the economist appraisal, environmental assessment and the business case for the bridge."

He added: "This information, with proposals to increase tolls at Dartford Crossing, must be taken into account if the inquiry is to get a picture of how Bexley will be affected."

AGAB and St Michael's Residents' Association have written to the case officer, urging the public inquiry be reconvened.

They say there have been a number of developments.

Two days after the inquiry closed, an interim report was produced for Greenwich Council about the traffic impact of Crossrail coming to Abbey Wood.

The report said Knee Hill would need to be widened to take the extra traffic.

AGAB and the residents' association also point out Transport for London (TfL) is also carrying out a feasibility study on expanding the congestion charge to Greenwich.

They write: "It is imperative TfL remodels its traffic figures.

"Evidence presented to the inquiry assumed there would be no toll or congestion charge at the Blackwall Tunnel, no increase in tolls at Dartford and no widening of Knee Hill."

Other material concerns are the go-ahead for the Belvedere incinerator and the declaration of Bexley as an Air Quality Management Zone.

They are urging everyone to call for the inquiry to be re-opened by writing to P Gregory, Planning Central Caseworks Division, Zone 3/J/1, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU.

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