Boris Johnson has described his proposed Silvertown Tunnel as “vital for east London” ahead of a new public consultation on the controversial £750m river crossing.
The tunnel would connect the Greenwich Peninsula with Royal Docks, both of which are earmarked for major redevelopment in a bid to create new homes and jobs.
City Hall and Transport for London claim the capital’s expected population growth will increase the need for new connections and warn that failure to meet demand will adversely affect east London’s economy.
On Wednesday TfL will launch a public consultation on detailed proposals for the tunnel which could be open by 2021.
The consultation will run until December 19th and can be accessed online.
Mayor Johnson said: “The Silvertown Tunnel would provide a vital new link beneath the Thames from two of our city’s great opportunity areas for new homes and jobs – Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.
“It has quite rightly been classified by the Government as a project of national significance and today we’re a step closer in making our vision a reality.”
Michèle Dix, TfL’s Managing Director of Planning, said: “These detailed plans for the Silvertown Tunnel are the next step in delivering a series of crossings that will keep London moving.
“The consultation is an opportunity to find out more about the design of the tunnel, how it will be used and the benefits and impacts of this new crossing.”
Some local residents and environmental campaigners oppose the scheme which they’re concerned would increase pollution and traffic in the area.
One campaign group, No to Silvertown Tunnel, wants TfL to extend the London Overground from Barking to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead as a car free alternative to a tunnel or bridge.
They’re backed by London Assembly member Darren Johnson who said: “Instead of building new roads which will generate more traffic, the Mayor should be thinking about extra public transport links.
“London has been growing at the rate of a 100,000 extra people a year for over a decade now, but car traffic has declined by 1% a year during that time.
“We have kept London moving by increasing capacity on public transport and encouraging people to walk, or cycle more. We need to build on that record of success.”
In addition to the Silvertown link, Mayor Johnson has asked TfL to further develop plans for two new crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere which he describes as “essential not just for east London, but for the capital as a whole”.
Darryl Chamberlain, spokesperson for No to Silvertown Tunnel, said: “Once again, Transport for London’s pushing its toxic tunnel with no evidence to back up its wild claims that it’ll reduce traffic congestion or boost our economy. TfL and the mayor think this is a done deal – we’ll fight this mad plan all the way.”