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Campaigners call for Silvertown tunnel to be scrapped

Environmental campaigners have branded plans for the Silvertown tunnel as “toxic” and are trying to get the project scrapped.

The secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling is expected to make a decision on the project next month but Friends of the Earth want the plans thrown out following assessment of new data.

Transport for London (TfL) undertook a reassessment of the air pollution impact from the Silvertown tunnel after Friends of the Earth pointed out that the project needed to take into account the government’s recent Air Quality Plan into account.

According to Friends of the Earth, under the plan the tunnel would worsen air pollution locally around the tunnel.

“Londoners lungs are already suffering from some of the worst pollution in the country and we must be doing everything we can to make that better, not add to the problem,” said Friends of the Earth pollution campaigner Jenny Bates.

 “TfL has said that it’s OK to make air worse here, because other areas in London are even worse - and so it won’t be this project which holds up the city’s ability to comply with legal limits.

 “But when we’re talking about people’s lives being blighted by health problems and cut short because of the toxic air we’re breathing, increasing pollution for anyone is unacceptable.

“If the Mayor is serious about dealing with air pollution and improving the lives of Londoners then he must scrap this project before it starts. If he doesn’t withdraw it, the government must reject it.”

TfL has denied the claims made by the environmental group and said that the new tunnel is vital to relieve congestion through the Blackwall Tunnel and air quality measures will be addressed in the design.

Grayling is expected to announce a decision on the tunnel scheme on 11 October. Construction of the tunnel, if approved, could start in 2019 and open in 2023.

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