Want to regenerate Greenwich Peninsula properly? Build a walking and cycling link to Canary Wharf

Delta Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula: Planners should be looking at making it possible to walk and cycle to the Isle of Dogs

Delta Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula: Planners should be looking at making it possible to walk and cycle to the Isle of Dogs

Planners are currently mulling over new plans to redevelop the Greenwich Peninsula. We think they should be looking at making it possible for its thousands of new residents to walk or cycle to Canary Wharf.

Developer Knight Dragon recently asked Greenwich Council if it could change the 10-year-old masterplan for one of London’s biggest regeneration schemes.

The company’s new plan includes at least 12,700 new homes, education and healthcare facilities, a film studio and visitor attraction and a 500-room hotel.

But plans for a £1 billion road crossing between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks would put a brake on its plans to regenerate the area, by adding to congestion and pollution in the area.

No to Silvertown Tunnel thinks planners could boost the Greenwich Peninsula’s regeneration at a fraction of the cost by building a pedestrian and cycle connection to Canary Wharf.

It would ease pressure on the Jubilee Line and better connect the peninsula to the economic hub across the river.

Transport for London has already costed a bridge between North Greenwich and Canary Wharf at £90m – adding it could be “iconic” and would be “likely to encourage investment”.

With increasing development on both sides of the Thames, the main stumbling block of such a connection – that it would deposit walkers or cyclists in unattractive areas – is fast disappearing.

A pedestrian or cycle link to Canary Wharf would make Greenwich Peninsula more attractive for employers and residents alike.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has long been campaigning for a bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf – we think a link to Greenwich Peninsula should be considered too.

“The last thing the Greenwich Peninsula needs is more jams and more pollution from the Silvertown Tunnel,” Darryl Chamberlain from No to Silvertown Tunnel says.

“With more development planned along the Jubilee Line and Crossrail tipped to be full soon as it opens, it’s unwise to be relying so heavily on a packed Tube and a badly-thought-through road tunnel to regenerate the peninsula.

“It’s a big ask, but politicians, planners and developers should be looking at linking Canary Wharf and the Greenwich Peninsula for walkers and cyclists.

“It’d provide a link for everyone to use, from chief executives to cleaners, relieving the Tube and connecting communities.”

The formal consultation on the Greenwich Peninsula masterplan ended on 27 April, but Greenwich planners will still accept comments from members of the public. Head to www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/planning and search for application 15/0716/O.

Find out more:
Cable Car Need and Business Case, Transport for London, 2011. First obtained using Freedom of Information laws by Alistair Johnson.
Our submission to the Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan planning application.

Privacy Policy

TfL’s latest email campaign shows it’s playing dirty over the Silvertown Tunnel

The Blackwall Tunnel may be congested, but the Silvertown Tunnel will not help traffic on its approaches

The Blackwall Tunnel may be congested, but the Silvertown Tunnel will not help traffic on its approaches

We’ve discovered that Transport for London is playing dirty in its battle to build the toxic Silvertown Tunnel. It’s launched an email campaign asking motorists to come up with reasons why it should go ahead with the £1 billion project.

We’re hugely grateful to the campaign supporters who sent us the emails they received from TfL – and their replies explaining why the Silvertown Tunnel is a bad idea.

Despite election rules prohibiting publicity on controversial matters, TfL used its database to email members of the public last Friday (24 April) to ask them about their experiences of congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel.

TfL email

“We would like to hear from people who use the Blackwall Tunnel or who are affected in some way by the congestion at the tunnel. Are you often delayed by congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel? How does a lack of river crossings in east London affect your everyday travel?,” the mail reads.

“Your feedback will help us to make clear the pressing need to address the problems at the Blackwall Tunnel, and could help us to secure the powers that would be necessary to build the Silvertown Tunnel,” it ends.

TfL’s appeal for help comes after its most recent consultation revealed widespread fears that the tunnel will increase congestion on local roads, leading to even worse air pollution. TfL was also criticised – even by tunnel supporters such as Greenwich Council – for a lack of data to back up its assertions about the scheme.

The price of the project appears to be spiralling, too. City traders were told last week the project would cost £1 billion – an increase on the £750m quoted in last year’s consultation, and the £600m cited in 2012. The news came in a Thomson Reuters wire story about KPMG teaming up with TfL to help finance the project.

We think Transport for London should stop using dirty tricks to promote its its toxic tunnel – especially at election time when public bodies should be acting neutrally.

It’s already packed a consultation full of leading questions and assertions that fall apart under scrutiny. Now it’s failed to come up with adequate data to back up its claims, it’s asking drivers to come up with anecdotes to support its plans.

Nobody’s pretending Blackwall Tunnel queues aren’t a problem – but the Silvertown Tunnel is the wrong solution in the wrong place. It will simply pile more pressure onto local roads and make the situation worse.

Instead of casting around for Blackwall Tunnel horror stories, TfL should be looking to cut traffic levels on London’s roads while boosting public transport, walking and cycling in the area instead.

If you’ve had an email, please feel free to respond – and tell TfL why the Silvertown Tunnel is such a bad idea.

Privacy Policy

Supreme Court air quality ruling is a wake-up call on the Silvertown Tunnel

The Supreme Court, 29 April 2015

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the UK government must take immediate steps to cut air pollution.

This ruling has implications for politicians at all levels. It forces the government to urgently clean up pollution from diesel vehicles, the main source of the illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide found in our cities.

More than 4,000 Londoners are thought to die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution.

The case was brought by environmental lawyers Client Earth, who pursued the government for five years through UK and European courts.

Announcing the decision, Lord Carnwath said: “The new government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

No to Silvertown Tunnel is campaigning against the construction of a new road tunnel under the Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks.

The Silvertown Tunnel – proposed by Transport for London and supported by neighbouring Greenwich and Newham councils – would increase traffic on already-congested roads, making already-intolerable congestion worse.

The campaign’s Darryl Chamberlain was at the Supreme Court this morning to hear the judgment read out.

He says:

“This judgment is a wake-up call for politicians at all levels, from possible Prime Ministers to our local councillors, whatever their party.

“For too long now, we’ve had politicians at all levels – from central government to local boroughs – who have ignored air pollution and backed roadbuilding schemes that will make it worse.

“In particular, the candidates to be London’s next mayor must cancel Boris Johnson’s Silvertown Tunnel, which will add to congestion and pollution in both south-east and east London.

“Greenwich and Newham councils must face up to their public health responsibilities and challenge TfL’s toxic tunnel, instead of meekly going along with a scheme that will do nothing about congestion yet will damage the lives of thousands of local people.”

No to Silvertown Tunnel has carried out two air pollution studies in east and south east London, which show illegal levels of pollution in areas where people live, work, and attend school.

It will shortly announce the results of a third study, which covered parts of Newham and Tower Hamlets boroughs in east London.

See also:
Client Earth’s press release
The Supreme Court judgment and summary

Privacy Policy

It’s election time – ask your candidates about the Silvertown Tunnel

Polling Station by secretlondon123

Polling Station by secretlondon123, used under this Creative Commons licence

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed there’s a general election on.

We’d like to make clear No to Silvertown Tunnel is not affiliated to any political party. We’re grateful to have had support from across the political spectrum.

Members of various parties have taken time to help our air pollution monitoring, the results of which have been made available for all to use. We’ve submitted evidence to cross-party committees of MPs. And we’ve met politicians – including some standing in this election – to explain why the Silvertown Tunnel is a bad idea.

If you hear any candidate claiming they or their party is linked to us, we’d like to make clear that is simply not true. (We’d also like to to hear about it.)

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the tunnel an issue in this election. Wherever you live – whether it’s a safe seat or a marginal constituency – the election is a chance to have your say on the tunnel.

Everyone who raises the Silvertown Tunnel on the doorstep, on social media, by email or at a hustings is doing their bit to raise the profile of our campaign. The more it is raised, the more candidates will have to think about the issue – and the more likely they are to raise concerns.

What can you do?

1. Get in touch with your candidates. From Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney to Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley and beyond, the Silvertown Tunnel is an issue candidates should be aware of. You can find candidates’ details at Your Next MP.

2. Raise the issue on the doorstep. If you get a knock on the door in the next couple of weeks, don’t hide – raise the tunnel as an issue. Do they support the tunnel? Have they seen our campaign? Do they accept that building new roads creates more traffic? Will they raise this within their parties?

3. Ask a question at hustings. If you can spare the time, hear from your candidates at hustings events across east and south-east London. You can find details of some at Meet Your Next MP, but here are a few we’re aware of. Greenwich & Woolwich: Charlton Society hustings, Saturday 25 April, 2.30pm – Assembly Rooms, The Village SE7 8UD. Greenwich NUT hustings, Tuesday 28 April, 6.30pm – Forum at Greenwich, Trafalgar Road SE10 9EQ. Lewisham Deptford: Sunday 26 April, 7.30pm – St Catherine’s Church, Pepys Road SE14 5SG. Hackney North & Stoke Newington/ Hackney South & Shoreditch: Hackney Citizen hustings, Sunday 26 April, 2pm – Arcola Theatre, Ashwin Street E8 3DL. Bethnal Green & Bow/ Poplar & Limehouse: Tower Hamlets CND/ Friends of the Earth hustings, Wednesday 29 April, 7pm – Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, E2 6HG. Eltham: Eltham Park Baptist Church hustings, Wednesday 29 April, 7.30pm – 32a Westmount Road SE9 1AJ. Lewisham East: Mummy’s Gin Fund hustings, Thursday 30 April, 8pm – Church of The Good Shepherd, Handen Road, SE12 8NR (aimed at local women and male guests – please register here). Erith and Thamesmead: Thamesmead Link hustings, Sunday 3 May, 6pm – Belvedere Road SE2 9BS.

I Like Clean Air poster

Finally, our friends at I Like Clean Air are holding a kids’ activism day in Shoreditch this Saturday. ITV’s Tonight programme will be filming – so if you’re a family concerned about air pollution, be at Shoreditch High Street station for 2.30pm.

Privacy Policy

Burying bad news: TfL’s latest Silvertown Tunnel report reveals widespread worries about congestion and pollution

Sun in the Sands roundabout

Transport for London is crossings its fingers and hoping the A102 can carry the extra load from the Silvertown Tunnel

Transport for London quietly slipped out its report into the last Silvertown Tunnel consultation on Thursday afternoon – burying some bad news for its plans to build a new road between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

After years of TfL and some local councils using their marketing budgets to push the tunnel – and mixing it up with other crossings – the headline result is what City Hall would have wanted. After all, who doesn’t want to get across the Thames more easily?

Yet this was the first time TfL has actually consulted about this crossing alone, instead of trying to sneak it through along with other new road schemes.

And once you get beyond the simple “yes/no” tick box and actually invite people to think about the effects of a crossing at this location, the fears about this toxic tunnel making congestion and pollution even worse run through this report like a motto in a stick of rock.

How will the existing A102 be able to cope with 20% more traffic – particularly heading southbound? What about its effects on air pollution? Why is TfL prioritising new roads rather than new public transport connections?

It’s not just the public who are worried. The companies and organisations who depend on local traffic to run smoothly are also coming out against the scheme.

The ExCel exhibition centre has voiced its fears about the Silvertown Tunnel – it knows the Lower Lea Crossing can barely cope with traffic as it is, because its customers already get stuck in queues. (See the video above filmed during the Baby Show in February.) Landowner Quintain is also unhappy about TfL’s plans.

South of the river, Southern Gas Networks – whose staff have been on the Greenwich Peninsula longer than anyone else – is against the scheme, arguing it’ll be poor value for money. And Millennium Primary School has rightly pointed out that the tunnel will make traffic worse, not better; and that MPs have recommended new roads should not be built near schools.

The report also reveals deep unhappiness at the level of information TfL provided with the consultation. Is TfL trying to railroad through this dangerous scheme without doing its homework?

And TfL’s strategy of telling people they can have new roads without any adverse consequences finally comes unstuck on the question of tolling – as the report reveals most respondents were opposed to charging for Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels.

TfL tweets

Transport for London’s publicity was designed to secure a simple majority in favour of the tunnel – but when people were invited to think about the consequences, a very different story emerged

These consultation results show how residents and businesses are starting to see through TfL’s slogans and shiny videos. They know building new roads just leads to more traffic – and this is something we can’t afford with local streets already congested.

The Silvertown Tunnel is no solution to the Blackwall Tunnel’s problems – it’ll make other bottlenecks worse and leave London still depending on the 1897 tunnel for the main northbound route.

Instead of digging itself further into a hole, Transport for London should abandon this scheme now.

It needs to make crossing the river easier by cutting traffic on London’s roads, boosting public transport and making walking and cycling easier, instead of making matters worse by flying headlong into poorly-thought out new roads such as the Silvertown Tunnel.

Privacy Policy

Taxpayers deserve better than this lazy report – our response to the Transport Select Committee

Greenwich Park, 17 March 2015

The report was released on the day London issued its first official air pollution warnings.

A new report from MPs has backed the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel – but we think they’ve served taxpayers poorly by coming up with a lazy report full of outdated assumptions.

No to Silvertown Tunnel contributed to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into strategic river crossings, and our comments are referred to in the report.

While MPs have acknowledged serious local concerns about the Silvertown Tunnel, we’re disappointed that they seem to have come from a position that all road-building must be good for local communities.

Instead of asking “how do we build these roads”, it should have been asking “why are we building these roads?”

New roads = more traffic, same old jams

There’s an overwhelming body of evidence showing that new road-building leads to increased traffic – a body of evidence that has been ignored by the committee. To imagine you can build a road without generating new road traffic is fantasy – but it’s one that London’s policymakers have happily signed up to.

The Silvertown Tunnel will increase traffic levels in east and south-east London. TfL has admitted to a 20% increase, London’s deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring told the committee that traffic on local roads will double.

Despite this, the committee – whose report was released on the day when London’s mayor issued City Hall’s first air quality warnings – chose to ignore evidence that new roads generate more traffic, even falling for the old line about new roads reducing the number of idling vehicles that produce pollution.

Even one of the Silvertown Tunnel’s local supporters – Newham elected mayor Sir Robin Wales – admits the Silvertown Tunnel will do little to aid economic regeneration. Indeed, the intensive construction projects currently under way in the Royal Docks and on the Greenwich Peninsula suggest that regeneration is proceeding fine without it. Indeed the developments there have followed investment in public transport, such as the Jubilee Line, Docklands Light Railway and Crossrail.

The current plans for London’s river crossings are generated by frustration at not being able to cross the Thames. Yet the Blackwall Tunnel bottleneck is surrounded by other bottlenecks, both north and south of the Thames. Adding the Silvertown Tunnel will simply add pressure, particularly for southbound journeys on the A102, and will still leave the main north-south route relying on a 118-year-old crossing built for horses and carts.

The transport committee says the Silvertown Tunnel “must not be built in isolation”. Yet that is exactly what will happen, with TfL attempting to rush through the scheme at a far greater pace than other projects.

Damage to communities in east and south east London by expecting them to bear the weight of another “strategic crossing” will already have been done before a spade is dug on other projects. Each project must be judged and scrutinised on its merits, but in any case, the transport committee has admitted cost-benefit analysis underestimates the usage of new crossings – so what is its solution when crossings at Blackwall, Silvertown, Gallions Reach and Belvedere are all congested and local roads gridlocked?

Why only road crossings?

It’s also disappointing that the committee has failed to recognise the role of public transport in regenerating communities – ignoring calls for an Overground extension to Abbey Wood – particularly as it admits to having been given no hard evidence that road-building can do just that. It also ignores how promoting walking and cycling can boost local areas.

Indeed, one witness cited Dartford – which faces a similarly ill-conceived scheme to Silvertown in plans to add a 4th crossing on the M25 – as an example of how areas can be regenerated by road building. This ignores the fact that Dartford town centre has actually faced huge economic difficulties over the past two decades, exacerbated by the growth of out-of-town shopping centres served by new roads.

All this report does is parrot old ideas – the same outdated ideas which, if carried out in the 1970s, would have destroyed areas such as Brockley, Camden Town and Clapham as part of the Ringways scheme.

Ignoring London’s real needs

Different parts of the country will need different solutions to help them revive and regenerate local areas. Yet the MPs’ scrutiny of the London crossing proposals was painfully weak, compounded by their failure to invite any dissenters – such as the vastly experienced former GLC planner John Elliott – to give oral evidence.

The Silvertown Tunnel, along with other proposals out to the M25, must be looked at in the context of the wider London transport network – such as the Bakerloo line extension and Crossrail 2 plans – not just in terms of crossing the river. So it’s baffling to see the committee recommend setting up a joint-purpose company to build London’s river crossings.

This will simply make planning even more remote from local people, and ignores the role of public transport in reviving London’s communities, and presumably it will do little more than provide a highly-paid job for one of the current road-building lobby.

We believe any solution to crossing the Thames should be looked at in the context of cutting congestion levels across east and south-east London as a whole, keeping unnecessary traffic out of the capital and freeing up room for essential journeys. The current proposals simply fall to address this, and the committee failed to scrutinise this vital aspect.

Taxpayers deserve better scrutiny than that offered by a committee which gives the impression that it made its mind up in advance.

Further reading:
The oral evidence on the Silvertown Tunnel and other Thames crossings.
No to Silvertown Tunnel’s written evidence.
Written evidence from former GLC transport planner John Elliott.
Follow-up evidence from John Elliott.
Building bigger roads makes traffic worse – Wired.com.
Trunk roads and the generation of traffic – 1994 Department for Transport report.
MPs criticised after calling for more road crossings – MayorWatch.

Privacy Policy

Air pollution in Newham and Tower Hamlets – can you help us with our study?

2015 No to Silvertown Tunnel air pollution study

We’ve got the map and the equipment – but can you help us with our study?


We’re planning a new air quality study in Tower Hamlets and Newham. If you live in or near Poplar, Silvertown or Canning Town, we’d love you to take part in it.

No to Silvertown Tunnel has teamed up with Mapping For Change to carry out the survey, which will measure air quality in an area stretching from Poplar’s Aberfeldy Estate through to Britannia Village in Silvertown and Canning Town’s Keir Hardie Estate.

Results from the study will be used in the campaign against the Silvertown Tunnel, which is being proposed by TfL with the support of Newham Council and Poplar & Canning Town MP Jim Fitzpatrick.

Rather than diverting traffic away from the congested Blackwall Tunnel, the proposed Silvertown Tunnel is more likely to increase traffic and pollution in communities on both sides of the Thames.

Earlier this month, London’s deputy mayor for transport, Isabel Dedring, admitted to MPs that City Hall’s planned river crossings would lead to a “doubling of traffic” on local roads.

We’re looking for volunteers who can spare a couple of hours next week to help us install tubes that can measure levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air – and who can spare a couple of hours in early March to take them down again.

If you can spare a couple of hours between 2-6 February and 2-6 March, please get in touch via info@silvertowntunnel.co.uk. The dates are chosen to match those used by local authorities when they measure air quality.

It’ll be our third air quality survey, and it’s the first time we’ve worked with Mapping For Change, which promotes empowering local communities to become healthier and more sustainable. Alongside our project, Mapping For Change is also working on studies in Hackney and Catford, as well as another survey covering Vauxhall and Streatham.

Our first study, in 2013, investigated areas affected by the proposed tunnel south of the river, while in 2014 we looked at a broader area of south-east and east London. This new study will home in on areas directly affected by both the Silvertown Tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel.

“Local politicians in Newham and Tower Hamlets don’t want to admit the Silvertown Tunnel will be a blight on east London,” No to Silvertown Tunnel campaigner Chris Taylor says.

“The Silvertown Tunnel will make a bad problem even worse by bringing new traffic to the area. We’re gathering more evidence to show them that they need to work to cut traffic levels in Poplar, Canning Town and Silvertown – not increase them. The more help we can get from locals, the better our work will be.”

No to Silvertown Tunnel is also working alongside Network for Clean Air and community groups south of the river on their own independent air quality studies. The Charlton Central Residents Association, Westcombe Society, East Greenwich Residents’ Association and a group in Slade Green, near Crayford, are all due to begin their studies in the coming months.

Privacy Policy

Join Christian Wolmar at No to Silvertown Tunnel’s AGM on 29 January

Christian Wolmar

Opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel? You’re invited to No to Silvertown Tunnel‘s annual general meeting, which will take place at Mycenae House, Blackheath, on Thursday 29 January at 8pm.

We’re delighted to confirm that transport journalist Christian Wolmar has kindly agreed to be our special guest speaker at the meeting.

Christian is one of the UK’s foremost experts on transport and transport policy; needless to say, he’s implacably opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel. He’s also seeking the Labour Party’s nomination to be its candidate for Mayor of London.

Last year’s consultation may be over, but it’s a busy time for our campaign. We’re finalising plans to carry out an air quality study north of the river, as well as supporting community groups with studies south of the river.

We’ve also submitted evidence to MPs on the Transport Select Committee, who heard Greenwich Council leader Denise Hyland and Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales reaffirm their backing for the tunnel on Monday.

We’re also drawing up new plans to keep on spreading the word against the tunnel – making sure local politicians know that local people are opposed to this blight on our communities.

There’s plenty to do, so if you want to get involved in our campaign, please come along and say hello. Here’s the agenda for the meeting.

There’s a licensed bar at Mycenae House, which will also be open after the meeting. It’s 10 minutes’ walk from Westcombe Park station (trains from Cannon Street, London Bridge, Greenwich and Woolwich Arsenal) and close to bus routes 53, 54, 108, 202, 380 and 386.

So please come along – it’ll be great to see you! As always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line on info@silvertowntunnel.co.uk.

Privacy Policy

There’s still time to have your say on TfL’s ultra-low emission zone

Happy New Year!  We hope that you have had an enjoyable and relaxing time.

Transport for London is currently consulting on an Ultra Low Emission Zone (“ULEZ”) to come into effect from September 2020.  The consultation ends on Friday 9 January so there is still time to make your voice heard!

TfL's Ultra Low Emission Zone map

The proposed boundaries would be the same as the current central London congestion charge zone. With frequent exposure to high levels of airborne pollutants in this area, such a measure would be welcome. But we feel both the scope and the range of the zone are uninspiring and represent a missed opportunity.

We’d encourage everyone with an interest in air quality across London to respond to the consultation.

You can find our reply to the consultation below. You may like to consider or adapt it while composing your own response. We haven’t included questions that require personal information.

13. In your opinion, how important is it to tackle poor air quality in central London?

(Very important down to very unimportant) – “Very important”

14. Do you support an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London to encourage the use of low emission vehicles to improve air quality?

(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support”

15. It is proposed that private and commercial vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ standards must pay a daily charge to drive within the ULEZ from 2020. Do you support this?

(Range of vehicles & options strongly support to strongly oppose) – Chose “Strongly support” for all

16. Do you think the proposed boundary of the ULEZ shown on the map is the appropriate area for charging vehicles which do not meet the ULEZ standards?

(Yes, Should be smaller, Should be larger, No) – “Should be larger”

17.Do you support the proposal that the ULEZ standards would be enforced 24 hours a day, 365 days a year?

(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – Chose “Strongly support”

18. Do you think the proposed charge (£100 for heavy vehicles and £12.50 for cars, vans and powered two wheelers) is appropriate?

(Yes, No too low, No too high, Don’t know) – Chose “No, too low”

19. It is proposed that residents in the ULEZ would not need to meet the ULEZ standards until 2023 (and therefore not pay a daily charge until then). Do you support this? 

(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Neither support nor oppose”

20. Do you support the proposal for TfL to operate only hybrid double deck and zero emission single deck buses on bus routes operating through the ULEZ?

(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support”

21-23. Do you support the proposals to reduce emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles by:
a) Introducing a requirement in 2018 that newly licensed vehicles would be zero emission capable for:
(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support”
b) Reducing the Londonwide age limit for non zero emission capable taxis to 10 years and exempting all licensed taxis from the ULEZ standards (and therefore daily charge)
(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support”
c) Requiring PHVs to meet the ULEZ standards for private cars in order to drive in the ULEZ without paying a daily charge (similar to other cars and vans)
(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support”

24. Do you think the proposed date of 2018 for requiring new taxis and PHVs to be zero emission capable is:

(About right, could be achieved earlier, should be achieved later, no opinion) – “Could be achieved earlier”

25. Please write in the box below if you wish to make any other comments about any aspect of the ULEZ proposal including any potential exemptions or expand on any of your responses above.

The ULEZ represents a missed opportunity. It is restricted to the existing Congestion Charge zone which only covers a few of the areas in London which suffer from poor air quality.  While the area of the proposed ULEZ features some areas where pollution is particularly high, the choice of area gives the impression that it was picked for the ease of implementation and monitoring – as infrastructure is already in place and it is an area of the road network that due to its size TfL can really control – rather than for its impact on pollution.

Poor air quality is very much localised, and your crude measure – “the percentage of population living in areas of NOx exceedance” – does not reflect the real health issue facing London.

While we would not wish anyone to have to suffer poor air quality, it is notable that these measures are focussed on an area with just 200,000 residents. It appears one motivation behind the ULEZ is to protect the image of London rather than actually protecting all of the residents of Greater London: “this [the ULEZ area] is where most people visiting and living in London are exposed to pollution on a daily basis.”

It is also not clear whether the current ULEZ proposal would a) solve the air pollution issue, b) get London to just within legal limits, or worse, c) do nothing.

We believe: 

a) the ULEZ should be extended to cover at least all inner London boroughs (to the east, at least as far as Greenwich and Newham) but should probably expand further to cover the whole area inside the M25.

b) In addition to the ULEZ, the mayor should be stopping road building schemes such as the Silvertown Tunnel, a project that will further increase congestion and air pollution. This should be in conjunction with an expanded ULEZ.

We would also question whether the ULEZ is actually that much of a game-changer. The standards would already be quite old: “If approved by the Mayor, the ULEZ standards would be introduced from 7 September 2020 and by this time it is expected many vehicles will already be compliant” and “the oldest Euro VI HGV will be six years old, whilst the oldest Euro diesel 6 car will be five years old”.

Therefore much of the change you hope for would be down to the natural process of changing vehicles and updating fleets. If the ULEZ is being introduced to reinforce good air quality, it should be designed to be more aggressive than simply reflecting updated standards.  It’s  also not good enough that some of the vehicles that will remain non-compliant would be in TfL’s own fleet, unless retrofit measures are introduced.

In addition, the ULEZ does not address what we see as the core issue – the sheer weight of traffic in Greater London. More needs to be done to tackle this.

26. As vehicle technology advances, TfL may consider strengthening the ULEZ standards at a later date to set a zero emission requirement. Do you support this in principle?

(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support”

27. Would you support a future expansion of the area of the ULEZ to spread the benefits of improved air quality to other parts of London?

(Strongly support to strongly oppose) – “Strongly support” 

Privacy Policy

Greenwich councillors must reject Boris’s toxic tunnel to protect new school

John Harrison Way

St Mary Magdalene school is taking shape behind these hoardings on John Harrison Way, in Greenwich Millennium Village

Greenwich Council should reject plans to build a new road tunnel from the Royal Docks to Greenwich Peninsula to protect children attending a new school it is building close to one of London’s most congested roads, campaigners said today.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign spoke out after MPs recommended that new schools should not be built close to main roads, as the pollution caused by traffic damages children’s lungs for life.

The Environmental Audit Committee recommended that new schools, hospitals and care homes should not be built on main roads, and existing schools by main roads should have air filtration systems included. No to Silvertown Tunnel contributed to the inquiry.

Despite Greenwich Council building a new school on the Greenwich Peninsula – St Mary Magdalene, due to fully open in 2015 – Transport for London plans to build the Silvertown Tunnel, feeding extra traffic into the A102, which passes the school site.

The Silvertown Tunnel will generate new traffic on the existing Blackwall Tunnel approaches, failing to clear northbound congestion, exacerbating southbound queues, and putting the wider road network under heavier strain.

A citizen science study carried out by No to Silvertown Tunnel in January showed high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air close to the St Mary Magdalene site, which is opposite the existing Millennium Primary School.

Other schools close to roads affected by the Silvertown Tunnel scheme include Halstow Primary in Greenwich and Invicta Primary in Blackheath.

Greenwich Millennium Village pollution

Nitrogen dioxide levels at Greenwich Millennium Village, recorded in January 2014. The St Mary Magdalene school will open on the site marked “coach park”, between Millennium Way and John Harrison Way. Figures over 40 microgrammes per cubic metre break European legal limits.

“The Environmental Audit Committee report underlines that it is insanity to build new roads through urban areas such as ours,” No to Silvertown Tunnel campaigner Jill Austen said.

“This report should be a wake-up call for policymakers and councillors across London and the rest of the UK – they can’t keep on demanding new roads when the effects of those roads damage children’s health.

“The only way you will deal with congestion is by taking traffic off the roads. Expanding capacity has been proved time and time again to be counterproductive.”

On the specific proposals in Greenwich, Jill added:

“Greenwich Council is right to be opening a much-needed new school on the peninsula. But if it’s to follow this policy through properly, it has to oppose a road project that will put the health of children across the borough at risk.

“Councillors can’t cross their fingers and hope there’ll be a magic road tunnel that won’t cause extra traffic or pollution – because that simply won’t happen.

“They need to face up to their responsibilities to children at St Mary Magdalene, Millennium Primary and other schools across the borough and oppose this dangerous scheme. Future generations deserve better than to have their health blighted by this toxic tunnel.”

Transport for London’s latest Silvertown Tunnel consultation closes on 19 December. To respond, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/silvertown-tunnel. Please also tell your local councillors, MP and London Assembly members what you think – get their details at www.writetothem.com.

Privacy Policy