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Campaign against new Silvertown tunnel launched

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rob, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. rob Administrator

    A new campaign against the proposed Silvertown tunnel has been launched.

    The backers of the campaign are opposed to a new road tunnel from Greenwich Peninsula to Silvertown.

    The have set up an online petition and also have a Twitter account: @nosilvertowntnl

    Greenwich Council and Newham Council have launched a joint campaign called Bridge The Gap which calls for the tunnel to go ahead and also a new bridge further east.

    Cllr Chris Roberts and Nick Raynsford MP recently both told Greenwich.co.uk that they support the schemes.
  2. stan New Member

    If a new tunnel helps with the bottle neck it will be a good boost for the local economy. It will take years to build anyway and by then there will be more electrics and hybrids on the road so I don't buy this air quality argument from enviromentalists
  3. Dazza Member

    My main concern is the number of cars/vans/lorries that would use the Woolwich Road Flyover. Already a bottleneck so how would having 2 tunnels at the end of it help? Surely that would mean more vehicles trying to travel along it to get to the tunnels?
  4. rob Administrator

  5. John Fahy New Member

    The debate about the Silvertown Tunnel is well and truly underway. The do nothing option is unrealistic. Those that argue against are perfectly entitled to do so. However in order to be credible alternatives need to be put forward. Growing traffic and pollution levels are high now and I firmly believe that the Tunnel can help to alleviate these levels. As a Ward Councillor in Woolwich I see the increasing number of polluted lorries clogging up the area while they wait for the Woolwich Ferry. Sometime the Ferry runs,other times it doesn't . Limited information provided,result more logjams. Reducing traffic is clearly a priority,not helped by Government and the Mayor where Londoners pay the highest train fares in Europe. Of course people will be concerned and full consultation is important but the general thrust of the case for the Tunnel is sound. Questions about traffic issues in Kidbrooke and elsewhere are being quoted. The reality is that these issues exist already. Look what happens when Blackwall is closed. Yes we must use of best endeavours to reduce the use of the car but in the meantime we need to move on to improve key traffic links.
  6. A tunnel offers a lot less than a bridge from Thamesmead to Beckton which is where the push for crossings should be concentrated. A tunnel isn't much use for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians. The tunnel also relies on the same approach road and if there's an issue there then it's gridlock. Also if i recall correctly there was an article on the BBC recently that the flyover has some structural flaws. The article was published after the discovery of problems on the Hammersmith flyover last year. Here's my blog post on the crossing plans and options - http://fromthemurkydepths.wordpress.com/
    Neil likes this.
  7. Darreb Member

    Thanks John, To be honest I've been struggling for sometime to think why on earth Royal Greenwich Council would support a scheme to bring more traffic and pollution to the borough.

    Now I think I get it. Its not about the borough at all, this is all about Woolwich and presumably the journeys to work for Council Officials.

    This is about removing the Woolwich Ferry and thus the vast majority of traffic on John Wilson Street at the expense of those living in Kidbrooke and Eltham and Greenwich itself.

    The only question I'm left to ask you John is why you would be willing to suffer all those other areas that you are also meant to be responsible for rather than push your energies into the Thamesmead bridge?
    GORN likes this.
  8. Stewart Member

    Thanks for putting your head above the parapet on a public forum.

    I struggle to see a strong case for the tunnel as there are too many unknown factors. At Friday's launch Councillor Hyland is reported to have confirmed that no impact assessment on traffic or pollution levels has been carried out. Nobody is talking about bikes as far as I am aware.

    The true debate can only begin when we have all the facts and everybody is allowed to think for themselves. The "Bridge the Gap" campaign is a classic example of the Royal Borough assuming that either its residents will do as they are told or that they are too stupid to fill in a form - "remember to tick 'strongly agree' to questions 3 and 7" indeed! I am not a lawyer, however I suspect you may have created the basis of a future legal challenge if this scheme gets any further.

    Nobody is advocating the "do nothing option". The silvertowntunnel.co.uk petition clearly states that "alternative proposals could include a new bridge at Thamesmead, dropping tolls at the Dartford Crossing or heavy investment in public transport - or maybe a mix of all three."

    In the absence of an official impact assessment I would have to defer to recent research by the London School of Economics and the University of Toronto entitled "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion". This study found that building new roads and widening existing ones only results in additional traffic that continues to rise until congestion returns to the previous level. Such attempts to “cure” congestion are thus both expensive and ineffective. [2]

    How large and straight a tunnel do you want to build? Lorries cannot currently use the Blackwall Tunnel and are forced to use the Woolwich Ferry to avoid toll charges at Dartford. Perhaps as interim measure we should be pressing for the abolition of tolls further east? The previous government reneged on a pledge to stop these after the crossing had been paid for in 2003 - after all, it does raise £70m a year.

    I personally see the (potential) case for another crossing further east as sound, however a tunnel in this location makes no sense. As it stands, more traffic is already going to be forced onto the A2 with the SPD proposals to downgrade the A206 through Charlton and Woolwich and the A206 at John Wilson Street.

    Precisely. This is the reason we need proper, full and frank discussion with professional reports on the impact of any proposed changes. The "Bridge the Gap" campaign is a perfect example of putting the cart before the horses.

    I fail to see how a Silvertown Tunnel would make any improvement to traffic issues without significant widening of roads. Hyder Consulting's feasibility report into extending the DLR to Falconwood made it clear that extending the footprint of the A2 would be expensive and problematic.

    This also raises the question of whether it is possible to campaign for both a tunnel and a DLR extension as they appear to be incompatible. Although expensive, I would much prefer a public transport alternative to another tunnel on the peninsula and a DLR extension would fit the bill. It may even help to get some of that traffic off the roads.

    Although there are still many questions to be answered, the Gallions Reach bridge proposal is probably the most sensible as it would be replacing the Woolwich Ferry like-for-like and retains redundancy in the road network. The caveat would be that we would require reassurances as to the gateway routes to the bridge. Nobody would sensibly assume that much traffic would come from the east of Western Way and we would need to know how traffic would arrive from the west. I have been asking this question for the last year (since the "masterplan" consultations) and have yet to receive an honest answer. We know you want to downgrade the main roads in Woolwich - which parts of Plumstead or Shooters Hill are deemed suitable for a new major road?

    Finally, another question is the lifespan of the current Blackwall Tunnels. I have heard reports that these have another 20-30 years of life left before major works are required. Would you not have had a better response if this scheme had been promoted as a modern replacement?

    Apologies for the long reply - I look forward to hearing your answers.


    [1] https://twitter.com/Cllrjfahy/status/287538117307670528
    [2] http://journalistsresource.org/stud...ntal-law-road-congestion-evidence-u-s-cities/
    [3] https://twitter.com/CliveEfford/status/288292623129657347
    Neil likes this.
  9. Neil Member

    The council need to clarify where the economic benefit would come from (beyond the minicab firms they keep referencing). If the main beneficiaries of a 3rd tunnel are going to be drivers from Kent travelling north and drivers from Essex heading south, it's hard to see how that will turn into economic improvement that would outweigh the downsides of increased congestion, worsening air quality, etc. If it's expected that it will bring significant traffic into Greenwich itself, it's hard to see how the junctions at Woolwich Rd, Sun in the Sands and Kidbrooke will cope, given current levels of congestion (often unrelated to any problems in the Blackwall Tunnel.) The council needs to think again, before any more cash is wasted on this campaign.
    GORN likes this.
  10. Stewart Member

    Now there's a very interesting thing...

    Most new developments in the borough are designed with few car parking spaces and future developments will have even less if the SPD proposals are enacted. I fail to see how many of the borough's future residents will be using this tunnel as they are being encouraged to utilise public transport.

    If the romanesque economic benefits that will be seen on both sides of the bridge (or tunnel) materialise it won't be these residents that are enjoying them.
  11. Darryl Member

    It's good to see John Fahy posting here, but a shame he isn't engaging in debate.

    But when he does return, could he answer some questions?

    a) How does he square his support for the Silvertown Tunnel, which will attract extra traffic and therefore pollution, with his role in charge of public health in the borough of Greenwich?

    b) Why did Greenwich launch the pro-Silvertown campaign when its transport planner, Kim Smith, told a London Aseembly seminar on Wednesday that there was no evidence of its benefits and therefore the council's case was "conjecture"?

    c) Why has Greenwich Council decided to spend money on a campaign for the Silvertown Tunnel with no evidence of its benefits?

    d) At Wednesday night's council meeting, three councillors - including Denise Hyland (!) expressed reservations about moving Greenwich Sainsbury's to Charlton because of the affect on traffic and air quality on the Woolwich Road. One, Hayley Fletcher, even voted against it on those grounds. Why, then, are you supporting a development which will send even more traffic through the area?

    e) If building river crossings creates prosperity, as Denise Hyland claims, why did the Greenwich peninsula enter a long decline after the opening of the 2nd Blackwall Tunnel and approach road in 1969?

    f) Has he read the petition page at www.silvertowntunnel.co.uk, and noted that it is not a campaign against ALL river crossings, but just this misguided one?

    Answers to these, and the questions above, would be appreciated. Because Greenwich Council's position is mystifying. And dangerous.
    GORN likes this.
  12. Clare Member

    I'd like to know how Cllr Fahy can justify a scheme that brings more pollution to the area when one of the 60-odd public health measures he's going to be responsible for from April is mortality attributable to particulate air pollution. And what part of the £18 million+ budget for public health is going to be spent on reducing said pollution, because however much it is it will be a complete waste if this tunnel goes ahead.
  13. Paul Member

    I agree that do nothing is not an option but how can be funnelling more cars through the Greenwich peninsular be the solution? Doesn't make sense, cars have to get there via the A102 approach road and Woolwich/Trafalgar road which is already busy. Either replace the Woolwich ferry with a bridge and/or another bridge at Thamesead to give more locations where to cross the river. A bridge could also then be used by cyclists. Is there a council Agenda going on here behind the scenes we don't know about.
  14. John Fahy New Member

    I have followed with interest the number of constructive comments made recently on this site. I felt wounded on Friday when I was accused of being a petrol head. It is clearly evident that we do have serious air quality issues in Greenwich and across London. I took time out this morning to look at the pollution levels produced by the London Air Quality Network. Clearly we need to continue to confront these major issues. It is work in progress. I am very much aware of the current public health issues. Are the current proposals for improving traffic flows with the campaign to develop improvements across the Thames likely to increase pollution,I believe not. The proposals cannot be considered in isolation. I was surprised to see that the Silvertown petition offers no view on the wider transport proposals.

    It is important that all of the issues raised are considered and any submissions made reflect the wider options available to reduce the bottlenecks around the Borough. Air quality goes through the roof and any rational view should be mindful of that. Community engagement is critical but as I have said previously all views need to be valued and respected. The discussions that have been aired are important and if the final decision is to proceed with the proposals more work will be required on the issues of air quality,traffic flows etc. I hope to look at the Hyder report this week.

    Should the Mayor fail to support Gallions Reach Bridge,then I suspect all bets are off. Simply moving the Ferry further down river will simply be a fudge .
  15. Pelton Pirate Member

    There are numerous problems which any proposed crossing must address, and from the information supplied to residents thus-far, it's clear they've either not been researched or documented (or both) fully before the pro-tunnel campaign started.

    Does Royal Greenwich (or anyone) really understand the motivations of the majority of traffic using
    a) The Blackwall Tunnel S > N & N > S
    b) The A2 > A102
    c) The Woolwich ferry and approaches
    d) Equivalent routes from N > S

    Cllr Fahy is missing the point and proposing a solution without knowing the root cause of the problem, typically a route to doom & failure for any change project. Until you understand why thousands of cars (the vast majority of which during rush hours are single-occupant) need to use those stretches of road (and their surroundings), how on earth can you say whether one or other proposal will hope to have any tangible effect?
    As for the veiled digs at the Government and Mayor of London, well, they are bizarre at best. How are train fares in anyway linked to lorries using the Woolwich Ferry?
  16. Adam Bienkov New Member

    All bets are already off then. The Mayor does not support a bridge at Gallions Reach and cancelled existing plans for one when he was first elected.

    The only two projects which are in TfL's ten year business plan are the Silvertown Tunnel and a Ferry at Gallions Reach. The only effect the council's "bridge the gap" campaign will have is to increase the likelihood of the Silvertown Tunnel being built.

    Both Greenwich and Newham say they want a tunnel as well as the bridge and Newham have said that their support for the tunnel is dependant on the bridge being built as well.

    As TfL and the government have no plans to build the bridge, can Greenwich please be honest about their position on Silvertown? Does Cllr Fahy support the tunnel, even without the bridge?
  17. Paul Webbewod New Member

    PP - At the City Hall seminar last week the TfL representative said that most traffic using the Blackwall Tunnel either starts or finishes its journey in London and that there isn't much long distance through traffic that "should use the M25". I haven't seen any actual stats though.

    I'm still on the fence about the Silvertown Tunnel. It's certainly the case that the principal problem, at least for north-bound traffic, is the pinch point caused by the Blackwall Tunnel itself and an extra bore in the area might reduce congestion and the associated air pollution. There's always the possibility of unanticipated adverse consequences though. I also feel it's unfair to oppose Silvertown and then suggest exporting the congestion to Bexley by building a Thamesmead-Beckton fixed link instead.

    What really worries me at the moment though is the enthusiasm for tolling Blackwall which has been expressed by both supporters and opponents of a new tunnel. This would surely be bad news for many people in Greenwich. If drivers have to pay for using Blackwall but can still cross the river for free further west, some current Blackwall users would likely stay south of the river, causing more congestion and pollution in Lee Green. Blackheath and Greenwich Town Centre.

    In any case it would be iniquitous to make the Greenwich crossing the only one in London not to be free at the point of use. There's no more case for tolling Blackwall tunnel than there is for tolling Battersea Bridge, Twickenham Bridge or indeed the Hammersmith flyover.
  18. rob Administrator

    Councillors and Nick Raynsford gathered together with a group of local business people yesterday who have all signed up to support their Bridge The Gap campaign.

    Pictured below are:

    Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader, Royal Borough of Greenwich
    Councillor Peter Brooks, Deputy Leader, Royal Borough of Greenwich
    Councillor Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills, Royal Borough of Greenwich
    Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich
    Rebecca Kane, Managing Director, The O2
    Geoff Symmonds, Head of Transport, The O2
    John Anderson, Chairman, Berkeley Homes
    Donal Mulryan, Chief Executive, West Properties
    Steve Nelson, Principal Director, South East London Chamber of Commerce
    Brendon Fee, Marks and Spencer
    Roger Arnold, Martin Arnold Associates
    Nigel O'Dell, Murphy's Waste
    Matt Barker, CSB Logistics
    Maria Lahi, Grant Saw
    Mike Manning, Scorpion Press
    Julia Stone, London Stone Properties
    Nick Staff, SMP
    Richard Tranter, Abbey Cars
    Cindy Cheung, Favourite Inn
    Adrian Green, Woolwich Grand Theatre
    Ian Gambardella, Lakehouse

  19. Paul Webbewod New Member

  20. Stewart Member

    Interesting - is this the additional report that was mentioned at City Hall last week?

    1.13.f concerns me as it does imply that reducing congestion at Dartford may be part of the issue. The removal of barriers and introduction of a "free-flow" system will not ease all of this congestion.

    4.64 also highlights the fact that a DLR extension to Falconwood would reduce the service through City Airport/Woolwich. This stretch of line is already very busy at peak times and I cannot see this working. There would also be a knock-on capacity issue at North Greenwich as people changed onto the Jubilee line to get to Canary Wharf (4.68). Of course, this means that the Silvertown rail tunnel would actually be built at significant cost for a low number of passengers (4.75.iv)

    I was hoping to find some reassurances regarding the Gallions Reach bridge but a number of items do stick out:-

    All well and good, however the cost of a similar sized tunnel from Shooters Hill to North Woolwich is given earlier in the document as up to £2bn. I would be worried that the temptation to go overland through Plumstead and Oxleas would be too great when faced with such a cost.

    Something tells me that this is going to go backwards and forwards for years and I'm more confused about the best solution than ever. What I do know is that a Silvertown Tunnel in isolation, which we're likely to get under the current proposals, is just as bad an idea as the last quote above.

    Are Johnson and Bexley prepared to think again about the TGB? The ideal solution may well be this alongside an A2 tunnel and built at the same time, although the cost would be around £2.5bn.

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