Opponents of the Silvertown Tunnel have slammed the decision to proceed with the controversial project, which will see work on the cross-river development start next year. 

Transport for London officially announced on Monday the award of the contract to Riverlinx Consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the £1bn tunnel connecting Royal Docks and Greenwich.

However, the signing of the contract, just a month after a plea from Greenwich council to London Mayor Sadiq Khan for the project to be stalled, was met with criticism by various opponents of the long-running saga. 

“In his letter to us last week the Mayor said ‘I am committed to reducing car dominance, improving air quality and addressing climate change’,” said  Victoria Rance on behalf of the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, following the announcement.

“This decision manifestly goes against all these commitments. He makes much of these priorities but the only infrastructure legacy he is leaving for his four year term as Mayor is an outdated climate-wrecking toxic tunnel which locks the United Kingdom’s capital city into high carbon emissions for decades.”

Ms Rance, who is also the Green Party candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich, added the the consideration of other options to aid travel and traffic was “inadequate and outdated”, while stating the group intended to submit a request for a judicial review of the decision.

They were joined in their condemnation by Labour Parliamentary candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich, Matthew Pennycook, who opposed the plans during his time as MP.

He too hinted that he would take further action against the move.

“Bitterly disappointed that the Mayor has today signed the Silvertown Tunnel contract,” he tweeted on Monday morning.

“I don’t consider this the end of the matter and will continue to vociferously campaign against this ill-conceived scheme.”

Stuart Harvey, director of Major Projects at Transport for London, said the tunnel would provide important new routes across the Thames for east London.

“Following detailed discussions, we have now completed the contract for the Riverlinx Consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the Silvertown Tunnel,” he said.

“Once open in 2025, the tunnel will provide new cross-river bus routes in east London and during its construction we will work tirelessly to ensure that any disruption to local residents or businesses is kept to an absolute minimum.”

The move means a last-minute plea by Greenwich council to review the project was ignored.

In a letter from council leader Danny Thorpe to Mr Khan last month, the Greenwich head asked on behalf of the authority’s majority Labour party for work on the project to be paused and other transport options explored.

In the letter, Cllr Thorpe asked for options such as an extension of the DLR to Eltham to be discussed ahead of the tunnel, as well as requesting that options to tackle congestion at the nearby Blackwall Tunnel be explored more.