The Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales has welcomed a new package of river crossings that will alleviate some pressures within the Docklands borough – but he still thinks there is room for improvement.

Road bridges

Two road bridges were initially planned in the east by Boris Johnson – one at Gallions Reach and one at Belvedere – but these have become rail crossings in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new vision – extensions of the DLR and Overground. Sir Robin is unpersuaded by the switch.

Read more Reaction to new east London river crossings

He said: “There is clear evidence that a road crossing at Gallions Reach will stimulate the housing market and bring forward employment sites for development among a host of other benefits.

“We remain convinced that it is still essential for tacking congestion in the area and further supporting our businesses to grow and flourish and will carry on making this case to Transport for London.”

Air pollution

He also wants to see greater efforts made to tackle concerns about air pollution and nuisance during the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel.

Under the plans announced there will be an increase in the use of river transport during construction and only high performing HGVs will be used on site, to cut exhaust emissions.

Sir Robin said: “We still have issues over the impact the tunnel will have in Newham. While new crossings are welcome it is vital that Newham’s residents and businesses are not penalised for years of under investment in our transport system.”

Discounts for all

The Mayor of London’s proposals will also see discounts on tolls for residents travelling on the new bus services using the Silvertown crossing but Sir Robin has vowed to continue pushing for a discount scheme for residents and businesses using any vehicles on any new tolled crossing in the borough.

He said: “There must be a discount scheme for our residents and businesses using any vehicle, not just those using public transport.”

Real commitment

Sir Robin said: “The Mayor of London has made a real commitment to tackling congestion in East London and supporting the area’s economic growth through building the additional river crossings we desperately need. This is a real step forward from the lip service his predecessor paid to the issue with his fanciful plans.”