Air quality campaigner Jenny Bates has criticised a transport select committee report that concluded that river crossings would help regenerate east London.

A package of new river crossings in east London, possibly including the Silvertown Tunnel and Gallions Bridge, was welcome but “long overdue”, according to the report .

But the Friends of the Earth’s London spokeswoman said the MPs’ conclusions were blinkered and outdated.

She said: “More road capacity would just generate new traffic leading to worse, not better, congestion in the area and worse air pollution.

“The current filthy air in east London, which kills thousands of Londoners prematurely a year, has to be improved, not worsened.

“East London must be regenerated by investing in a package of public transport, cycling and walking river crossings and complementary measures.

“These would improve access, cut traffic and congestion as well as helping air pollution – improving the area for both local people and business.”

Her criticism come at a time when the capital is hit with another spell of poor air quality .

Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokeswoman Caroline Pidgeon has also condemned the findings.

She said: “It is bitterly disappointing that the report totally overlooks the need for improved public transport links across the Thames, such as extending the London Overground across the Thames beyond Barking Riverside.

“The committee has also overlooked the need for new pedestrian and cycle links east of Tower Bridge. A pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf would have immense benefits, yet the idea does not even get a mention in this report.”

Campaign group No To Silvertown Tunnel responded: “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?’

“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.”