The two MPs for each side of the planned Silvertown Tunnel have again called on mayor Sadiq Khan to pause the project – saying Transport for London’s financial crisis means the £1.2 billion scheme should now be reviewed.
Matt Pennycook, MP for Greenwich & Woolwich, and Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, say that the Labour mayor should look again at the scheme as part of his independent review of TfL’s finances, which have been seriously affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Khan set up the review in response to the Conservative government setting up its own investigation into TfL’s funding, as part of a wider battle between City Hall and Westminster over the future of the capital’s transport body.
The money for the Silvertown Tunnel is coming from a private consortium – Riverlinx – which will be paid off by tolls on both the new road and the Blackwall Tunnel when it opens in 2025. Sadiq Khan
But Pennycook and Brown have said that the risk of the project overrunning could present a further threat to TfL’s finances.
Pennycook has been a longstanding opponent of the tunnel – between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks – while Brown, who represents the west Silvertown and Canning Town areas that will take the brunt of traffic heading north of the river.
Khan promised a review of the scheme while campaigning to be elected mayor in 2016, but approved the project within five weeks of taking office. He and deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander insist the project will “virtually eliminate” congestion around the Blackwall Tunnel; opponents say it will fail to do that and will lead to traffic increasing in neighboring areaThe Silvertown Tunnel will branch off from the existing A102 at the site of the old No 2 gasholder.