MAYOR of London, Boris Johnson, has announced that he would like a new tunnel built under the Thames within the next decade.
He used a speech to London government leaders on Thursday night to confirm his support for the "Silvertown link" and said he would like to see it built within ten years.
The tunnel from Greenwich Peninsula across to the Royal Docks would have a capacity of up to 2,400 vehicles per hour in each direction. Transport for London will begin consultations on the scheme as early as next month.
The mayor also confirmed his support for a new ferry service between Beckton and Gallions Reach and said he'd like to see it delivered by 2017.
The crossing at Silvertown and the Gallion's Reach ferry both featured in a TFL document published in 2009 that put forward plans for future river crossings.
The Mayor of London said: “When I look at London I see a city of incredible potential and tonight I will make the case for a huge new phase of investment in the capital, including a major new river crossing east of Tower Bridge.
"We are in the right time zone, speak the right language and have the young, skilled population to continue to attract investment from the world’s greatest businesses. This is not a time for London to falter it is a time for London to flourish.”
Shortly after coming to office, Johnson scrapped plans for the Thames Gateway Bridge.
Nick Raynsford: Plans are "Too little, too late"
Greenwich and Woolwich MP, Nick Raynsford, says the Silvertown link is "very welcome" but has attacked the mayor's "deathbed repentance" on river crossings. He commented:
“Just months before an election, Boris Johnson has effectively admitted the catastrophic error he made in 2008 by cancelling the Thames Gateway Bridge Scheme. His deathbed repentance on the need for new river crossings is too little and too late.
“While the Silvertown link is very welcome and will help to relieve the acute congestion which frequently affects the Blackwall Tunnel, the Mayor’s proposals for a ferry at Gallions Reach is an unsatisfactory alternative for the Thames Gateway Bridge.
"It also poses serious questions about the future of the existing Woolwich Ferry. Will this continue as a free service, or will it be subject to tolls or possible closure under the Mayor’s proposals?"
"More traffic and more pollution"
Environmentalists have hit out at the plans to build a new road crossing. Friends of the Earth’s London Campaigner Jenny Bates said:
“A new road tunnel and car ferry will bring misery to Londoners by creating more noise, more traffic and more pollution.
“If Boris Johnson wants to keep his pledge to make London the world’s greenest capital his transport policy needs to go in a different direction.”