School kids from Greenwich have pleaded for the Silvertown Tunnel to be scrapped, as protesters hit City Hall.

Pupils and teachers from the Thomas Tallis school joined environmental campaigners from Extinction Rebellion and No Silvertown Tunnel to pressure Mayor Sadiq Khan to backtrack on the controversial new road.

Activists say the tunnel, close to Blackwall, and connecting Greenwich to Silvertown, will exacerbate pollution problems at one of London’s worst hotspots.

Following a demonstration outside City Hall, Tallis pupils told the LDR service that it will be them that have to face future problems.

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Thomas Tallis, which is close to the Blackwall Tunnel, is one of dozens of Greenwich Schools and nurseries to back a revived campaign against the controversial river crossing.

One pupil, Cally Moore, said: “A lot of young people are now realising how important this is, it is our future. If they want to build things like this, it won’t necessarily affect the older generations as it will us. It’s when we grow up, this will be how our lives are going to be.

News Shopper: School kids and protesters wanted to pressure the mayor into a rethink School kids and protesters wanted to pressure the mayor into a rethink

“They could have explored other ways rather than go straight to a billion pound project.”

“It’s really close to our school and to where we live. It comes out in the same place as the Blackwall Tunnel, that is where we live”, said pupil Freddie Fullerton.

“It’s just not a good idea, they could have done it another way.”

Andy Smyth, head of science at Thomas Tallis, added: “Young people are looking out for the future and realising older generations are less keen to act and they are taking matters into their own hands.

“The NO2 emissions in Greenwich are shocking – the latest 18 years they have been above recommended levels, how is this going to help? Young people’s lungs are developing, this will cause more illnesses in south east London.”

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Pupils joined environmental campaigners from Extinction Rebellion, Mums for Lungs and No Silvertown Tunnel ahead of Mayor’s Question time on June 20.

Victoria Rance, a Greenwich teacher and mum-of-three who is one of NST’s organisers, told the LDR service: “At this point when the contracts are about to be signed, we want Sadiq Khan to hear that we do not want it in Greenwich.

“Maybe Greenwich Council think it’s a good idea, but we don’t. A new HGV tunnel is going to bring in HGV traffic. We don’t think Sadiq Khan is getting the message.”

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said it is securing the interests of residents through making sure the tunnel is implemented well in Greenwich.


News Shopper: Campaigners ahead of mayor's question timeCampaigners ahead of mayor's question time

Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem assembly member, said outside City Hall on Thursday morning: “It’s really important we see people coming to City Hall to make sure the mayor hears them loud and clear.

“He can talk the talk about cleaning up air, but the contradiction to building a motorway under the Thames and the damaging impact on people in south east London is unacceptable.

“I think there are some people inside Greenwich Council who are unhappy but have gone along with the line of the Labour mayor. I just think it is wrong. The mayor’s own strategy promotes walking, cycling and public transport for 80 per cent of our journeys, you don’t need massive road tunnels if that’s how people will be getting around.”

Sadiq Khan told City Hall on June 20 that a new tunnel was necessary as “doing nothing is not an option.”

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He said: “The problem we have is how we deal with the fact that the Blackwall Tunnel is closed 700 times a year on average, leading to the catastrophe of tailbacks, there’s poor air quality, congestion and people don’t cross the river using the bus because it is unreliable.

“By having a tunnel with a lane reserved for buses, you’ll have public transport going from one side to the other. Also we are organising for pedestrians and cycles as well. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Campaigners continue to press the mayor to put off signing contracts for the tunnel, which he is poised to do ahead of the summer, with construction poised to start before the end of the year.