More than a dozen Greenwich schools and nurseries have backed a revised campaign for the Mayor of London to rethink the Silvertown Tunnel.

Climate change activists staged a die-in today at City Hall as they delivered their letter to Sadiq Khan on behalf of new group Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition.

Their letter has been signed by 15 schools from the borough as well as nurseries all concerned with the impact the new £1bn tunnel will have on air quality.

Permission for the 1.4km tunnel was granted by transport secretary Chris Grayling in May this year, seven months after a decision on whether to build it or not was originally due.

Long-standing campaigns have been fought against another tunnel in an area of Greenwich that already experiences high pollution levels.

Campaigners have argued against the tunnel for nearly five years, and are now calling again on Mayor Sadiq Khan to rethink the plans.

Victoria Rance, a Greenwich teacher and mother of three, was one of the organisers of the re-emergent campaign.

“This is a really good moment for a renewed campaign,” she said.


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“Sadiq Khan has declared a climate emergency, he’s rolled out the Ultra Low Emission Zone, but how how can he do it at the same time as this.

“We believe that the mayor really cares about children’s developing lungs and brains, so we want him taking action to reduce HGV traffic. But this scheme encourages it.

“This new tunnel is deliberately designed to allow larger, heavier, more polluting HGVs to re-route through south east London, near where children live, play and go to school.”

More than 300 people put their names to the anti-Silvertown letter since the campaign begun collecting signatures last week.

Invicta Primary, Thomas Tallis, the Plumstead Manor, and Abbey Wood Nursery are among the schools to have backed the letter.

Karen Janody, another organiser, added: “This was a good first step for the campaign. We want the tunnel to be reconsidered and for an independent investigation to be taken into air quality. A proper transparent assessment.

“There are a lot of options that would enable to Sadiq Khan to not lose face and deliver a proper transport infrastructure project that won’t cause early deaths.”

Air quality is high on the agenda in Greenwich, with one primary school near the Blackwall Tunnel fundraising to build a green plant barrier to cut out toxic fumes.

Campaigners say money could be spent improving roads and cycling infrastructure, however City Hall says it is not possible to use allocated cash elsewhere.


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A spokesman for the mayor said: “When he became Mayor, Sadiq sent back the plans for Silvertown Tunnel to make sure that any environmental impact is mitigated.

“That’s why there is such a focus on cleaner transport, with buses on the route meeting the highest emission standards, and the crossing being located within the extended Ultra Low Emission Zone.

“There will also be substantial investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the area, as well as extensive monitoring of noise and air quality during and after construction. 

“In addition, the proposed user charges at both the Blackwall and Silvertown crossings means the scheme does not lead to an overall increase in traffic.”