The Deputy Mayor for Transport has responded after Extinction Rebellion protesters 'blocked' the Blackwall Tunnel.

A large group of people gathered on August 9 to block slip roads around Woolwich in a bid to stop the completion of the Silvertown Tunnel.

Silvertown is set to be finished in six years time, however Extinction Rebellion believe that all it will do is bring more dangerous pollution into the area.

In a statement from Extinction Rebellion, they write: "The ongoing fight between protestors and TFL has become increasingly fierce since a disappointing County Hall meeting on August 2 with Heidi Alexander MP.

"She falsely argued that the build will ease congestion and reduce pollution. This echoes Sadiq Khan’s argument that the unreliable Blackwall Tunnel needs an immediate solution."

The statement continues: "Residents and children are at further risk of illness and increased morbidity. The HGV lane will be toll-free at night meaning more vehicles will travel through residential streets while people are asleep."

However, Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of Transport for London has responded to the protesters claims.

She told News Shopper: "I was interested to discover that I am engaged in an “increasingly fierce” row about TfL’s plans for a new road tunnel under the Thames in East London.

"This is not the way I see it.

"I do of course recall a recent meeting I had with anti-tunnel protestors, where TfL set out some basic facts about how the new road tunnel will reduce congestion, reduce the number of idling cars and increase local bus services."

However, Extinction Rebellion is certain that they have the power to convince City Hall to reverse their decisions in light of the climate emergency.

They say: "The Welsh government recently decided to cancel the M4’s relief road extension and the French environmental agency last month decided to halt the Marseille Airport expansion plan, citing environmental hazard from carbon emissions as well as economic concerns.

Extinction Rebellion says “We are demanding the cancellation of the Silvertown Tunnel. It is irresponsible and unaffordable in a climate emergency.”

Alexander continues: "Whilst these facts fell on deaf ears in that meeting, anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to be caught in traffic when the Blackwall tunnel goes down, will know we have to take urgent action to sort this problem out.

"A brand-new tunnel, to complement the Blackwall (which was originally intended for the horse and cart), will help resolve the issue once and for all - not least because of the tolls that will help to dissuade drivers who could make their journey in a different way.

"Of course, if we are to successfully reduce congestion and air pollution, as well as reduce carbon emissions, we all need to play our part - using cars only when necessary, and walking, cycling and using public transport more. But in this location, we can’t continue to funnel all traffic through the Blackwall Tunnel and simply hope the problem goes away."

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