More river crossings for east London included in Boris Johnson's Infrastructure Plan

By Rob Virtue on July 30, 2014 4:27 PM |

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The London Mayor is looking at a "series of new river crossings" to the east of the City, alongside a proposed Silvertown Tunnel.

It was included in the London Infrastructure Plan revealed by Boris Johnson on Wednesday, which says £1.3trillion is needed to be spent by 2050 to cope with a major population increase.

The mayor will set up a London Infrastructure Delivery Board to focus on the growth.

Mr Johnson said: "This plan is a real wake up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half century.

"Infrastructure underpins everything we do and we all use it every day.

"Without a long term plan for investment and the political will to implement it, this city will falter."

The consultation document calls for "a series of new river crossings in East London beyond the proposed Silvertown tunnel to overcome the major barrier effect which constrains travel between Thamesmead, Belvedere, Barking Riverside and Rainham".

The mayor and Transport for London have said the preferred choice for a crossing is a tunnel between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown.

However, the mayor's announcement on river crossings drew instant scepticism from political opponents.

They point out he tore up plans for a Gallions Reach crossing back in 2008 in one of his first decisions as mayor.

Labour Assembly Member Len Duvall told MayorWatch: "The plan cites the need for East-London river crossings, six years after he scrapped shovel-ready plans for one, and despite a cacophony of expert opposition, he continues to splurge taxpayer money lobbying for a Thames Estuary airport.

"For all his vision, Boris is in danger of stepping down in 2016 leaving behind a legacy of expensive vanity projects, rather than the world class infrastructure we're crying out for."

The London Chamber of Commerce has also been pushing for the mayor to bring back the scheme and last month released designs (below) of how a new east London bridge could look.

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A consultation is currently being run by Transport for London into crossings in the east.

Friends of the Earth London campaigner, Jenny Bates, also criticised the mayor's announcement, which came just a day after he pledged to clamp down on air pollution through an increased tax on diesel.

"Boris Johnson says he's doing all he can to tackle poor air quality, but building new Thames road crossings in East London will generate more traffic, more congestion and more pollution," she said.

"Air pollution is a scandal that kills thousands of Londoners prematurely every year, and the capital is not due to meet EU legal limits until after 2030."